Chairperson of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry Lord Herbert Laming
rejected attempts by Haringey council to withhold `essential`
evidence relevant to Victoria’s death, writes
The evidence, in the form of the council’s “preface” to
Haringey area child protection committee’s revised part 8
review, only came to light when it was leaked to Community
Care and the London Evening Standard newspaper and
after last week’s meeting of the council’s policy and
Signed by Haringey’s social services director Anne
Bristow, the preface notes that despite the significant failings
identified in the case review report, “the case review was unable
to conclude that taking any of the missed opportunities would
necessarily have guaranteed that Victoria would not have died”.
It also points out that the social services and police powers to
remove children from their carers are dependent on having evidence
that would stand up in court, and that none of the agencies
involved “habitually deal with those capable of murdering a child
in the manner evidenced in this case”.
“Nevertheless, the case review report indicates that the
professional agencies’ failings in this case were significant
indeed,” the preface continues, adding that the review’s
recommendations have now been incorporated into the ACPC’s
multi-agency improvement plan agreed by the committee in
Lord Laming told the inquiry that the comments about the missed
opportunities “seemed to be a conclusion which is certainly of
great importance to this inquiry”.
“Therefore, I feel strongly that, however this document may have
got into the public domain…, it seems absolutely essential
that it is presented to the inquiry,” Laming said.
According to the preface, the council considers the key messages
to be learnt from the case review to include: the need for improved
and systematic training; the need to be clear about the role of
advisers and managers across agencies; the need to ensure children
are interviewed wherever possible in their own language; the need
to refer cases to the education welfare service where schooling is
an issue; the need for meetings to be attended by key personnel
involved with a child; and the need to ensure practitioners are
aware as to how to express dissent about another agency’s
Recording must also be improved, a clear single set of ACPC
child protection procedures devised, links between the
council’s housing department and other child protection
agencies improved, and sharing information with other local
authorities when a child moves, given consideration.
“Progress has been made in respect of a number of areas,” the
preface says. However, it acknowledges that this “progress” has yet
to be agreed by ACPC member agencies.