Laming orders NSPCC to explain missing and doctored files

The NSPCC was ordered to produce a written statement to the
Victoria Climbie Inquiry explaining the absence and alteration of
key documents, writes Lauren Revans.

The children’s charity was responsible for the management of the
Tottenham children and family centre.

The centre, run from 2 sites was a partnership between Haringey
council, Haringey health authority and the NSPCC.

Former practice manager at the Moira Close site, Sylvia Henry
told the inquiry that she had been shown an original contact sheet
on Victoria’s case during an NSPCC internal management review in
Jan 2001.

She said it had contained notes of a conversation between
herself and the referrer, north Tottenham senior practitioner Barry
Almeida confirming that Victoria had left the area and her case had
been closed.

However, the version submitted to the inquiry in June was a
photocopy and had been doctored to conceal names. Henry claimed
notes of her conversation with Almeida had also been concealed.

By the end of the day’s evidence the charity had produced the
‘lost’ original, and now has until the inquiry reconvenes in the
new year to produce a statement on the document’s reappearance and
on the discrepancies between the two versions.

Inquiry chairperson Lord Herbert Laming said he found it ‘very
difficult indeed’ to understand why an organisation ‘allegedly as
experienced as the NSPCC’ should not secure the originals of very
important documents.

“I would have expected the NSPCC actually to understand
something of the requirements of the Children’s Act in this
matter,” he said.

Laming added that the NSPCC’s statement should also address why
an initial search for Victoria on its system after her death had
been unsuccessful, but that her case had been identified during a
separate search under the name of one of Victoria’s killers, Carl

Laming questioned whether this indicated that there were
additional missing documents, as there was nothing in the NSPCC
evidence submitted so far to suggest they had any knowledge of

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