Baby P: Balls calls on Laming to examine legal barriers to care

Ed Balls has asked Lord Laming to review whether legal barriers could be preventing children from being taken into care following the case of Baby P.

The children, schools and families secretary raised the issue in a letter to Laming setting out the terms for the child protection review, which was commissioned by the government last week.

Balls suggested the legal process could be a “key barrier” to effective safeguarding, adding: “Is the right balance being struck between the correct application of processes and the needs of the child?”

The DSCF secretary also said he wanted the review to examine national practice since the publication of the peer’s 2003 report into the death of Victoria Climbie.

Laming was also asked to draw on current reviews of local safeguarding children boards and the quality of serious case reviews.The LSCB review is looking at the independence of board chairs, who are mostly children’s directors as in the case of Haringey.

“The reforms introduced by government following the Victoria Climbié Inquiry set a very clear direction and have significantly strengthened the framework for safeguarding children.  Your work will be crucial in allowing us to assess progress being made, and to identify any barriers to effective, consistent implementation and how these might be overcome,” Balls’ letter to Laming said.

Laming has been asked to report with recommendations early in the New Year.

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