Laming summons Haringey director to inquiry

Chairperson of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry Lord Herbert Laming
issued a summons requiring the director of Haringey social services
to appear before him on Monday morning to produce missing files,
writes Lauren Revans.

Laming took the unusual step after it emerged that at least four
reports relevant to the independent inquiry had not previously been
made known to Laming and his team of experts.

Their existence was only discovered during the evidence of Rose
Kosinos, acting senior manager on the investigation and assessment
team for the north Tottenham office.

The missing material is believed to include an audit report of
the child protection review service, a report by Terry Burns, the
acting commissioner for north Tottenham, an urgent memorandum to
the commissioning manager, Dave Duncan, and an action plan
resulting from another report, also disclosed to the inquiry at
“the 59th minute of the 11th hour”.

Laming said it was “deeply disturbing” that new material was
emerging in this way and at this late stage.

“It is totally unacceptable,” he told Haringey Council. “This is
an important inquiry. It is a difficult inquiry to conduct and it
is an inquiry which is of immense importance, not just in respect
of previous practice but in learning the lessons for the

“In the circumstances in which I now find myself, I do not think
that I have any alternative but to issue the summons to the
director of social services of Haringey.”

Bristow is expected to produce the missing documents at 9am on
Monday, but is not due to give oral evidence to the inquiry until
later this month.

Yesterday, the inquiry heard that a review of child protection
work at Haringey’s north Tottenham and Hornsey offices
carried out after Victoria’s death “revealed masses of
serious concern”.

Dawn Green, child protection adviser and co-author of the
report, told the inquiry that the audit team were “appalled and
shocked” at what they found.

The report said that the audit team was “struck by the
repetitive and basic nature of the management actions on file” in
the north Tottenham office, that checks were not always carried
out, that office appointments were used instead of home visits, and
that there was “some inconsistency in the dealings with family
support cases and that lack of event may create aimlessness”.

The situation in Haringey’s Hornsey office appeared even
worse. The report found evidence of child protection files that had
“little or no work for very long periods of time”, that procedures
were not followed and timescales did not appear to exist, that the
condition of many files was “confusing”, and that initial
assessment forms were “almost never used”.

“We were actually saying at that time we thought the (Hornsey)
office was unsafe, which is about as far as you can go as a child
protection adviser, in terms of our concerns,” Green explained. “We
were very shocked by it and that is why we illustrated it with some
examples of some of the things that really worried us about the
practice at that time.”



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