Climbie inquiry report may be delayed

Lord Laming’s final report from the Victoria Climbie inquiry
could be delayed following the late submittal of a “potentially
important” document from the Social Services Inspectorate,
writes Lauren Revans.

The document, an externally assessed review of the original SSI
and Audit Commission joint review report published in November
1999, criticised the earlier report for painting an “overly
positive picture of Haringey’s social services, particularly
its children’s services”.

Despite being finalised in April 2001 and promised to the
inquiry team in July 2001, the external review was not submitted to
the inquiry until the end of February 2002, a week after phase one
closed. Phase one will now have to re-open to consider the new
document on 9-10 July. Lord Laming’s final report had been expected
in the autumn.

SSI Chief Inspector Denise Platt has been invited to attend the
inquiry to explain the delay. However, she is not expected to be
questioned about the joint review process which led to the original
conclusion about Haringey social services department that there was
“no reason why the authority should be anything but optimistic
about its future” as this falls outside the inquiry’s

The inquiry team is concerned that some witnesses relied on the
original joint review in their earlier evidence, unaware of the
doubts about its validity. Three witnesses, who cannot yet be
named, have been re-called to give more evidence, and a further 14
additional witness statements have been sought in the process of
trying to assess the document’s significance.

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