Victoria Climbie’s allocated social worker, Lisa Arthurworrey,
admitted to the public inquiry into the eight-year-old’s death that
she had made a “big error of judgement” the day she believed the
case was no longer one of child protection, writes
Arthurworrey said her whole perception was altered by a fax from
the Central Middlesex Hospital, which her manager Carole Baptiste,
believed justified the decision to return Victoria to the care of
her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao.
Victoria was subsequently reclassified as a family support case.
Hovever, the Haringey social worker who has been suspended from
duties since October 2000, said that an entirely different course
of action would have been taken had her and Baptiste read the fax
properly instead of assuming the cover letter was a fair
She said that, among other things, she would have noticed the
discrepancies between the version of events in the hospital notes,
and the version given to her and PC Karen Jones by Kouao.
Throughout her first day of evidence to the inquiry,
Arthurworrey stressed that her errors were not entirely her fault,
but also due to poor management and inadequate supervision.
The restructuring of the department, allegations of in-team
bullying, competition between managers, high workloads, and her
personal inexperience also all played a role. She conceded however
that her level of training had not been a contributory factor.
She singled out Baptiste for wasting large parts of the valuable
supervision sessions talking about her life as a black woman and
her relationship with God.
Arthurworrey is due to continue her evidence on Friday. Phase 1
of the inquiry is expected to end in early January.