New evidence to reopen phase one

The Laming report looks set to be delayed
following news that phase one of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry is to
reopen after the late submission of a “potentially important”
document from the Social Services Inspectorate.

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

Despite being 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

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

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.

reconvened phase one will take place on 9-10 July and is expected
to delay the publication of the final report.

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