Camden and Newham promise transparency over child death

Newham and Camden safeguarding children boards have vowed to be “transparent” over circumstances surrounding the death of a two-month-old boy whose mother was convicted of child cruelty yesterday.

Rhys Biggs died at his home on 8 May 2006 after sustaining “horrendous injuries” at the hands of his mother Claire Biggs.

Biggs, 27, was convicted of child cruelty at Inner London Crown Court as it could not be proved that Rhys’s death resulted from his injuries. 

Her partner Paul Husband, 33, with whom she was living with at the time, was convicted of wilful neglect. Sentencing will take place next month, after which a serious case review into Rhys’s death will be published.

Baby P link

The case has been linked by many newspapers with Baby P.  Press reports said that Biggs, who was known to social services departments in both Newham and Camden, had had her first child taken into care. She then avoided attempts by health workers to check up on Rhys by failing to keep appointments.

Speaking on behalf of Newham and Camden’s safeguarding children boards, Newham’s director of children’s services, Kim Bromley-Derry, said “It is always tragic when a child is subject to such horrendous injuries and, on behalf of all the agencies involved, we are very sorry about what has happened to young Rhys.”

He said that the agencies involved had already implemented the recommendations arising from a serious case review, but added: “Now the court case is finished we will look closely again to see if there are any implications for the way we deal with the protection of children.

Transparency vow

“We intend to be transparent about the facts of this case and we intend to publish a summary of the review once the legal process is complete.”

Bromley-Derry, who is also vice-president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, was appointed last month to the Social Work Taskforce, set up to improve standards of practice and look at how frontline workers could be better supported. The taskforce is chaired by Camden Council’s chief executive, Moira Gibb.

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