Conservatives and Lib Dems urge publication of full Baby P review

Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders have called for the publication of the full serious case review into the death of Baby P.

Shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove, Lib Dem equivalent David Laws and Lynne Featherstone, a Liberal Democrat MP whose constituency is in Haringey, have written to children’s secretary Ed Balls calling for publication of the full SCR, after reading it themselves.

As is standard practice, Haringey safeguarding children board has published only the executive summary.

All three MPs, along with Barry Sheerman, chair of the children, schools and families select committee, and David Lammy, the member for Tottenham, both of whom represent Labour, were allowed to read the full SCR by Balls, so long as they kept its contents confidential.

Public interest

However, in their letter, Featherstone, Gove and Laws said: “Now we have all read the full report, we believe that it is clearly in the public interest that this should be published, with the exception of a small number of passages which give sensitive personal information.”

They said they believed this would “not compromise the identity of individuals or personal data”.

In a previous letter to Laws this week, Balls said the SCR contained information that could lead to the identification of individuals, particularly given the extensive media coverage of the case.

Data watchdog

In a statement last week, information commissioner Richard Thomas, the data protection watchdog, said the Data Protection Act did not preclude disclosure of a full serious case review “to the appropriate authorities, or to an inquiry”, to ensure lessons are learned.

However, speaking generally about SCRs, he issued a warning about full public disclosure, saying case review files were likely to contain “sensitive personal information”.

Thomas added: “Where a case is generating emotive debate there may also be safety issues for those involved.”

Not asked for ruling

However, Thomas stressed that he had not been asked for a ruling on the Baby P SCR specifically, but stood ready to provide advice.

In their letter, Featherstone, Gove and Laws urged Balls to contact Thomas to “seek his views on publishing the SCR, with deletion of only those passages which cause genuine privacy concerns”.

In his earlier letter to Laws, Balls added that Lord Laming was examining the case for wider disclosure of SCRs, in his review of child protection, ordered by the government following the Baby P case.

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