Agencies blasted in Huntley case review

Vulnerable young women involved in inappropriate relationships with
Soham murderer Ian Huntley in the 1990s were badly failed by
agencies that should have protected them.

A serious case review, published last week, says “not many people
come out of the events we have described with a great deal of
credit” and criticises the care offered to the girls as “less than

The review looked at how agencies dealt with allegations involving
Huntley and seven girls. Huntley is now serving life for the murder
of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

The report was written by Sir Christopher Kelly, former permanent
secretary at the Department of Health, and was commissioned by the
North East Lincolnshire area child protection committee.

Kelly makes 12 recommendations, nine of which cover practice in
North East Lincolnshire Council, including supervision
arrangements, particularly of inexperienced or unqualified staff.

He says there should be better recognition that asking people to
self-refer is bad practice.

Kelly also recommended that the Department for Education and Skills
review the advice in the inter-agency child welfare guide, Working
Together, to make it clear that victims of extra-familial abuse,
including 16 and 17 year olds, may require a service as children in

The DfES should also consider guidance covering retention of
education and social services files relating to children where
child protection issues are raised, and the development of an
electronic system to allow child care records to be searched for
the names of alleged offenders.

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