Laming attacks Haringey`s `sorry saga`

Chairperson of the Victoria Climbie inquiry Lord Laming has
condemned Haringey council’s involvement as a “long, sad and sorry
saga of missed dates and missed timetables”, writes
Sally Gillen

Haringey chief executive David Warwick, who was summoned to the
inquiry to explain why the council had consistently failed to
provide vital information on time, following the submission last
week of an extra 600-plus documents, was lambasted by Laming.

Witnesses, including Lisa Arthurworrey, may need to be recalled
because some of the documents related to their evidence had been
supplied after they had appeared at the inquiry, said Laming.

A competency assessment carried out on Arthurworrey as she was
about to become a social worker for Victoria was only submitted by
Haringey after she had given evidence.

Laming said: “You will appreciate that the recall of witnesses
will not only increase the length but the cost of the inquiry and I
regard that as a very, very serious matter indeed.”

Warwick was asked to explain whether Haringey’s conduct was
“part of a deliberate plan to actually prevent this inquiry doing a
through job or whether, to be brutal about it, it is just down to
incompetency”. Laming also sought assurances from the Haringey
chief executive that all relevant documents had now been provided
and that all competency assessments carried out on staff were

But Warwick, who admitted he was “acutely embarrassed” at being
summoned to defend Haringey’s conduct, said he could not
“guarantee” that every single document has been found.”

He then read a statement which had been drafted for a council
meeting, which cited not wanting to be seen as pre-empting the work
of the inquiry as a reason for not routinely submitting papers to
the inquiry.

Warwick said the vast majority of the 600 documents submitted to
the inquiry related to events in 2001, many since the inquiry
started, and that they had not “uncovered any new relevant
documents in relation to the periods leading up to Victoria
Climbie’s death”.

“The council apologises to the inquiry if it believes are action
has hindered their task, but that has never been our intention,”
added Warwick.

Responding to Warwick’s apologies, Laming said: “Whilst I accept
the sincerity of what you have said, I hope you will equally accept
from me this has been, and I put it in the past in the hope that we
have put this behind us, an extremely frustrating experience.”

“I hope very much that we will not meet on this subject again,”
added Laming.

Former assistant director of social services at Haringey, Carol
Wilson, who was due to give evidence to the inquiry on Tuesday,
will now give evidence on Friday 14 December because the inquiry
team had been unable to process an additional 30-page statement she
had submitted in time because they have been working on more than
600 documents Haringey supplied last week. Former social services
director Mary Richardson will now appear on Tuesday 18



More from Community Care

Comments are closed.