Updated with information on timetable of care review
The government’s national review into the circumstances behind Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s murder will report by May next year and recommend improvements to local and national child safeguarding practice.
Annie Hudson, chair of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, will lead her organisation’s first national inquiry and wrote to education secretary Nadhim Zahawi on Monday to propose its terms of reference.
The review will seek to:
- Establish what happened to Arthur during his life and explore agency involvement with all those charged with caring for him.
- Evaluate how agencies acted to safeguard Arthur and what factors enabled or limited their ability to protect him from the abuse and neglect that he suffered.
- Analyse findings alongside learning from other serious incidents and relevant broader evidence.
- Make recommendations about how local and/or national safeguarding practice and systems should change to protect children in the future.
“Working with relevant safeguarding partners in Solihull and Birmingham, we will seek to understand the detail of what happened and why,” Hudson wrote.
“We will listen carefully to understand the perspectives of everyone involved, especially Arthur’s family.”
Hudson said her panel had already begun to review all of Arthur’s relevant case documentation and that it would complete this initial phase in January.
“This will determine what happened and provide a preliminary analysis of the quality of practice and decision making,” she said.
“It will also identify the deeper and further lines of enquiry that will need to be considered before the review is completed.
“At the moment I anticipate being able to publish the review by May 2022 at the latest, but I will be in a stronger position to confirm dates once this initial review phase has concluded.”
Hudson said she wanted the findings “to directly inform and reform any legislative, policy or practice change”.
In response, Zahawi thanked Hudson for the terms of reference and said he would ensure the panel had the support it needed “to do this important work properly”.
More on Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case
Besides the national review, Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and the police and probation inspectorates are conducting an urgent joint targeted area inspection (JTAI) into agencies in Solihull, which is due to report by late February.
Zahawi said the government would use learning from both inquiries “to ensure the right improvements are made to practice and systems both locally and nationally”.
Solihull council has also asked for an independent verification of the authority’s involvement in Arthur’s life.
Meanwhile, a local child safeguarding practice review into Star Hobson’s killing by her mother’s partner, being written by an independent author, will be published in January 2022 with recommendations for children’s services and other agencies in Bradford to better protect children in their care.
Learning from this review will also contribute to the government’s national review into the circumstances behind Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s murder.
Meanwhile, the care review said it still expected to publish its final report next spring, with “emerging learning and recommendations from the review of Arthur’s case […] made available to us as we enter the final stages of our review”.