Team manager Baptiste claims she held regular supervision sessions

The team
manager criticised in evidence to the Victoria Climbie Inquiry for
her management style denied claims earlier this week that she had
only held one supervision session with Victoria’s allocated social
worker during a three-month period.

Baptiste, who was Lisa Arthurworrey’s acting team manager from the
time Victoria’s case was allocated until she was replaced by
Angella Mairs three months later, insisted that formal supervision
sessions had taken place every two to three weeks. She also
rejected allegations that she had used supervision sessions to
discuss personal issues, including her religious beliefs and her
experiences as a black woman.

failed to answer a previous summons to attend the inquiry and in
December was charged with breaching an inquiry summons. Having
pleaded not guilty, she now faces trial in February.

In her
witness statement, provided six months late to the inquiry,
Baptiste said Arthurworrey was “not sufficiently analytical”, “not
always diligent in providing feedback following her assessments”,
“not particularly strong at speaking with the children” and lacked

counsel to inquiry Neil Garnham QC said this was “entirely
inconsistent” with Baptiste’s own assessment of Arthurworrey during
her personal development review.

“You are
simply blaming Miss Arthurworrey now, despite the fact that you
thought she was competent at the time, in order to deflect
criticism from you,” said Garnham.

response to criticism of her ability to manage effectively,
Baptiste blamed Haringey Council for failing to promote her
professional development, and criticised her line manager Dave
Duncan for failing to address concerns around her practice.

But she
accepts that she had been made aware by Arthurworrey that a doctor
had continuing concerns about the child. “I ought to have looked at
Victoria’s case file more thoroughly,” she says in her statement.
“In hindsight, it would have been helpful for me to have spoken to
Dr Rossiter and get some idea of how to co-ordinate all the medical

In a
personal note to Victoria’s parents at the end of her statement,
Baptiste added: “Please forgive me if you have felt that I have
frustrated or hindered the inquiry. Because I am a parent I
understand only too well that answers are needed and therefore I
have tried to be as honest as I can in helping you to understand my
role. I regret that Victoria’s voice was not heard and nobody will
fully understand the pain that she suffered. I can only hope that
the contribution that I have subsequently made will help to prevent
another child’s death.”

Laming sets out phase two

Laming has announced that phase two of the Victoria Climbie inquiry
will be made up of two parts, and the issues and questions to be
addressed will be published in a paper shortly.

first part will be an open invitation for people who want to
respond to send in a written submission to the inquiry, and
responses deemed relevant by Laming will then be treated as
evidence and circulated.

second part will take the form of a series of day seminars, which
will be chaired by Neil Garnham, QC for the inquiry, and observed
by Laming and his team of assessors. Between 12 and 20 people will
be invited to participate in each seminar, which will take place in
public between mid-March and the end of April.

Inquiry abandoned after witness

Victoria Climbie inquiry had to be abandoned for the day last week
after a senior policeman giving evidence had black ink thrown over
him. He was taken to hospital after some of the ink went into his

Detective chief inspector Philip Wheeler was describing his
involvement in the child protection team responsible for
investigating Victoria’s case.

He told
the inquiry that his heavy workload prevented him from properly
managing the team, because of the way his role was organised.

A woman
was due to appear before magistrates this week in connection with
the ink incident. She is charged with assault, criminal damage and
possession of cannabis.

the inquiry heard evidence from Wheeler’s line manager, detective
superintendent Sue Akers, who said that although she had confidence
in Wheeler and retained this confidence throughout 1999, she was
disappointed to discover that he did not visit the child protection
teams as much as she had thought.

– For
regularly updated reports of the Victoria Climbie inquiry go to

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