Failing to read files before strategy meetings
or supervision sessions was common practice and was condoned by
senior management, key members of the North Tottenham investigation
and assessment team told the inquiry last week.
Team manager Angella Mairs (currently
suspended) and former senior practitioner turned practice manager
Rose Kozinos, who resigned in June, admitted to the inquiry
chairperson that they had regularly breached Haringey’s child
protection guidelines on case recording by not reading files.
But they insisted that senior managers were
aware that guidelines were not followed in practice and that this
was a consequence of insufficient resources.
“We did not read files before we went into
supervision sessions,” said Kozinos. “This was something endorsed
by senior management.”
Kozinos added that to go into strategy
meetings with only a vague briefing or less was not unusual, but
agreed with Laming that this was “not a very effective system”.
Kozinos chaired both strategy meetings
relating to Victoria’s case. She and Mairs each had one supervision
session with Victoria’s social worker Lisa Arthurworrey. Neither of
them read Victoria’s file at any time before the eight-year-old’s
Haringey’s guidelines were also flaunted in
relation to where strategy meetings were held and who was eligible
to chair them, and in terms of agreeing time scales for actions and
discussing the need for reviews.
Kozinos accepted that it was contrary to
guidelines to fail to discuss a review and for a senior
practitioner to chair strategy meetings, but again added that both
were “standard practice”. Similarly she admitted that, as with
Victoria’s case, strategy meetings “did not always happen in the
hospital” when the child concerned was a patient.
When shown Haringey’s area child protection
committee handbook, Kozinos admitted that she had “never seen it
before”. Mairs confessed that she and her team were “not that
familiar” with the handbook, despite its intended purpose as a tool
for child care professionals.
Mairs rejected allegations by Arthurworrey
that she had removed pages from Victoria’s file after her death.
She told the inquiry that she had never denied closing the case so
there would have been “no reason and no purpose” to act in such a
way. “I would never do something like that. I do not accept it
whatsoever,” she said.
Mairs also denied that she had directed
Arthurworrey to prepare a provisional closing summary “without
proper reference to the case file and before an adequate assessment
of Victoria’s needs could be carried out”.