Laming asks to see withheld evidence

Chairperson of the
Victoria Climbie Inquiry Lord Laming rejected attempts by Haringey Council this
week to withhold “essential” evidence from the independent inquiry into
Victoria’s death.

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
and the Evening Standard newspaper after last week’s meeting of
the council’s policy and strategy committee.

The preface, signed
by Haringey’s social services director Anne Bristow, 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 September.

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.


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