High Court judge’s dismay at Haringey

Haringey Council was under fire again last week after a High Court
judge said she was “concerned and disappointed” about its failure
to put in place procedures to ensure efficient management of child
protection cases.

Mrs Justice Bracewell attacked the council for its handling of a
case involving children aged two and three said to have suffered
non-accidental injuries while in the care of their parents.

Sitting in the court’s Family Division, she accused the council of
a “singular lack of progress” in the case, adding that she had
ordered the assistant director of social services David Derbyshire
to court to explain.

She said his evidence showed that he “not only had no knowledge of
the case, but he had singularly failed to make any detailed
inquiries and had relied on the social worker to give any
explanation he could”.

Cases in the Family Division are normally heard in private but the
judge decided to make her comments public because of her concerns
about Haringey. She said delay in such cases was detrimental to the
children, adding that it was the duty of councils to take seriously
“the task of protecting vulnerable children”.

The council said: “We regret the procedural delays which meant that
some hearings could not take place as planned. However, this has
not affected the date of the final hearing which is still due to
take place in June. The children’s safety has been maintained
throughout with a package of support being provided for the

Haringey Council was seriously criticised during the Victoria
Climbi’ Inquiry and in the subsequent report for its failure to
protect Victoria.

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