Safeguarding board defends Hamzah Khan review

Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has defended its serious case review into the death of four-year-old Hamzah Khan

Hamzah Khan died of neglect and starvation. Photo: Mark St George/REX

Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has defended its serious case review into the death of four-year-old Hamzah Khan in response to concerns raised by children’s minister Edward Timpson.

In a letter to sent to board chair Nick Frost following the publication of the review in November, Timpson said he had “deep concerns” about the quality of the review, which he said had “glaring absences”.

But in his response to the minister, Frost said the review had been carried out in accordance with advice from the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Frost also questioned the minister’s focus on the role of children’s social services. “Children’s social care had limited involvement in the family due to a lack of reporting of any serious concerns,” wrote Frost. “No injuries or evidence of significant harm have ever been or reported in relation to any of the children.”

This, he wrote, meant that the threshold for a child protection investigation had not been met. “If expectations are changing and agencies are expected to significantly lower this threshold, this will have a great impact on resources nationally,” he added.

The board’s response also included answers to the 10 questions raised by the minister about the events leading up to Khan’s death in 2009.

On the question of why no statutory assessment took place when police found there were not enough beds for the children in the family home and that the mother was “under the influence” of an unknown substance, the board responded that the family had only just moved into a new home after fleeing domestic violence and were awaiting delivery of the bed.

In addition one of the children at the time had reached adulthood and so was able to look after the younger children.

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