Platt explains failure to produce joint review document

Chief inspector of social services Denise Platt failed to submit
a document to the Victoria Climbie inquiry because she was unaware
of its relevance, writes Sally

The document, an internal review of a 1999 joint review of
Haringey social services, which called into question its conclusion
that service users in the borough were “generally well served”, was
given to the inquiry three weeks after it had ended.

In a statement to the inquiry, which was reopened for two days
this week to seek an explanation from Platt for the late submission
of the paper, she said: “It did not occur to me that the internal
review might be relevant to the Victoria Climbie inquiry.”

Platt, who declined to appear in person, said in the statement
read by her lawyer Stephen Kovats, that she had been advised that
the inquiry was interested only in communications between the
Social Services Inspectorate and agencies and documents specific to
Victoria’s case, and “was not concerned with material
surrounding the production of the joint review or SSI

“With hindsight, I accept that the internal review was relevant
to the inquiry. I sincerely apologise for not appreciating this
earlier,” she added.

The decision to carry out the review, which looked at the
methodology of joint reviews, was made following the conviction for
murder of Marie Therese Kouao and Carl Manning in January 2001.

Differences between the 1999 joint review and a SSI report in
2000 had emerged during the pair’s trial, prompting questions
about the joint review process.

Platt said the SSI and the Audit Commission decided to conduct a
joint internal review of the joint review, which would look at the
methodology of the process “to see what lessons we could learn
about the joint review process”.

“It was not,” she added, “designed to enable us or anyone else
to second guess the joint review.”

In January this year Platt contacted inquiry chairperson Lord
Laming to tell him about the existence of the internal review,
which had been carried out for “methodological and managerial
purposes,” suggesting that it might be useful for phase two of the

At the end of the February it was sent to the inquiry, which
then contacted Platt to inform her that it was relevant to phase

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