Beverley Hughes invites Laming to review Climbié progress

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes today commissioned Lord Laming to review progress on the recommendations of his landmark review into Victoria Climbié’s death, in the wake of the Baby P case in Haringey.

Two men, including Baby P’s step-father, were convicted today of causing the death of the 17-month-old from Haringey, north London, a charge his mother has already pleaded guilty to.

Baby P was on the child protection register and the Old Bailey heard that the family were visited 60 times by agencies, including the council’s social workers.

Haringey review

Hughes said the government would carefully consider the serious case review, which is due to be published today by Haringey safeguarding children board, to see whether a specific review of child protection in Haringey was necessary.

But she added: “To ensure that the reforms that the government set out following Lord Laming’s inquiry are being implemented systematically, [children’s secretary] Ed Balls and I have today asked Lord Laming to prepare an independent report of progress being made across the country.”

Laming inquiry

Laming’s review into the murder of eight-year-old Victoria by her great-aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and Kouao’s boyfriend Carl Manning called for a fundamental overhaul of the child protection system when it reported in January 2003.

Proposals included a national database of children under 16, the replacement of area child protection committees by new multi-agency boards and, radically, a national agency for children and families.

While the latter proposal was not taken up, many of Laming’s plans made their way into the 2003 Every Child Matters green paper and the Children Act 2004, which ushered in systemic reforms to children’s services.

Defending system

Association of Directors of Children’s Services president Maggie Atkinson defended the child protection system in England, and said the Children Act reforms had been a success.

She added: “While this case is clearly an individual tragedy, it is not a symptom of a broken child protection system. It does not reflect the dramatic steps forward that have been made in child protection practice, policy and procedures in recent years.”

The news of the Laming review comes with the government having already launched reviews into local safeguarding children boards, which were set up under the Children Act 2004, and serious case reviews.

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