Haringey Council has today issued a long-awaited apology for its failure to protect Baby P, who died in August 2007, eight months after being placed on the child protection register.
The apology comes two days after the 17-month-old boy’s step-father and another man, Jason Owen, were convicted of causing or allowing his death, a charge Baby P’s mother had already pleaded guilty to.
Since the verdict, a serious case review has revealed practice failings by social workers and health staff and the government has ordered an urgent joint area review of safeguarding in Haringey. The council has also agreed to accept senior management support from Hampshire Council director of children’s services John Coughlan.
Liz Santry, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I have to say we are truly sorry that we did not do more to protect him. Our duty is to protect our children. We did not do so in this instance and I would like to say how truly sorry we are.”
In previous statements, the Labour-run council had only gone as far as expressing “sorrow” over the case, prompting anger from opposition Liberal Democrat councillors over the lack of a formal apology.
Inspectors start review
Santry also revealed that inspectors from Ofsted, the Healthcare Commission and the police inspectorate had arrived in the north London borough to begin the two-week JAR.
She added: “We absolutely welcome their arrival. We will do everything we can to be open and cooperative with them and the conclusions that they reach we will implement swiftly and comprehensively.”
Santry promised to “rule nothing in and nothing out” following the review, amid calls for her resignation and those of George Meehan, the council’s leader, and Sharon Shoesmith, the director of children’s services.