Tag Archives: baby p

Great Ormond Street Hospital finally apologies to whistleblower who was suspended rather than listened to

Belatedly, and after initially refusing to follow the recommendations of an investigation, Great Ormond Street Hospital has apologised to whistleblower Kim Holt who raised concerns about the unit that subsequently failed to properly protect Baby Peter.

Kim Holt (along with three other senior consultant paediatricians) tried to warn about serious failings in the unit which were, in their view, putting vulnerable children at risk. However, the hospital’s reactions ranged from suspending her through to blocking her return to work and failing to follow up on the recommendations of an investigation into her case.

The belated apology has taken Kim Holt three …

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How Great Ormond Street’s Jane Collins escaped investigation last year

Jane Collins, the Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital, is facing calls to resign after it was revealed that critical details about the hospital’s role in the death of Baby Peter were withheld from one inquiry into the tragedy and, despite the hospital’s subsequent claims, were also not supplied to the second inquiry.

However, what has been less commented on in the coverage in the last few days is the way Jane Collins escaped being investigated by the General Medical Council last year:

The chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital has escaped investigation over the Baby P scandal …

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Pressure builds on Great Ormond Street Hospital as second inquiry author joins criticisms

Yesterday I blogged about Lynne Featherstone‘s call for Jane Collins to quit as Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital following revelations that key information was withheld from the first inquiry into Baby Peter’s death and, despite the Hospital’s claims to the contrary, the public statement from the chair of the second inquiry that he was not shown the full evidence either.

Today The Guardian has a damning verdict from the author of that first inquiry, Edi Carmi:

The author of the serious case review, Edi Carmi, said she was shocked by the BBC’s report and that much of

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Great Ormond Street Hospital under fire over claims it covered up blunders

Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone today called for Jane Collins, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), to resign after the BBC published evidence that key criticisms of the hospital were withheld from an inquiry into the death of Baby Peter. In a further twist today, claims by the hospital that they subsequently did provide all the evidence to a second investigation were denied by the person who ran that investigation.

An investigation by BBC London found that Great Ormond Street Hospital did not pass on to the first Serious Case Review into the death of Baby Peter several key …

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Mother left 10 children starving and lice-ridden in same borough where Baby P and Victoria died

That’s the Evening Standard headline about the latest tragedy in the London Borough of Haringey, home already to two of the most shocking and notorious failures in child protection in recent years:

A mother has been jailed for the abuse of 10 children in her care in Haringey, the borough at the centre of the Baby P scandal.

She left the children starving, smelly, crawling with head lice and covered in ingrained dirt.

One child was so hungry that when a foster carer fed her she pressed the milk bottle hard against her mouth, leaving a red mark. The skin beneath her

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Social workers sacked over Baby P lose their appeal

From the Evening Standard:

Two social workers sacked over the Baby P tragedy have lost their claim for unfair dismissal, it emerged today.

Gillie Christou and Maria Ward claimed they were unjustly fired by Haringey council in response to the public outcry about the toddler’s horrific death.

But an employment tribunal panel ruled that the local authority acted reasonably in dismissing them because of serious failings in their care of the child.

You can read the full report here.

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Baby P whistleblower stands as councillor

From the Evening Standard:

The whistleblower who warned that Haringey social services were failing to protect children just six months before the death of Baby P is to stand for election there as a Liberal Democrat councillor.

Former social worker Nevres Kemal, above, who will contest the Noel Park ward, said she will try to rid the council of a culture of “lying, deception and cover-ups”.

Best of luck Nevres.

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David Lammy and Quentin Davies provoke warning from Treasury over ministerial behaviour

Rapid criticism of Public Accounts Committee reports from Quentin Davies (defence minister) and David Lammy (higher education minister) have resulted in the Treasury issuing a memo warning that such behaviour can result in ministers being censured.

As the November edition of Public Servant reports:

An attack by two ministers on parliamentary reports revealing waste and incompetence in their departments has provoked the Treasury to warn that ministers will face public censure if they make immediate statements to the media on future reports.

Statements by defence minister Quentin Davies and higher education minister David Lammy have led to a new Whitehall member to accounting

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So, were the courts right to keep names secret in the Baby Peter case?

At the time, there was stringent criticism from a vocal minority expressed online (such as in the comments thread on this site) of the court’s decision to keep secret the names of the adults involved in the Baby Peter case.

Now we know for sure the reasons:

There were two reasons behind the veil of secrecy. The first being the need to protect the identity of Baby Peter’s four siblings.

Connelly has three other children by Baby Peter’s father and gave birth to her youngest, who is Barker’s child, in prison.

The anonymity order was lifted because all four of Connelly’s remaining children are

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Haringey Labour increase their allowances by stealth

A quick quiz for you. One of the Haringey local newspapers, The Hornsey Journal, had this story on 14 May:

Under fire councillors opt to take pay freeze
The recession is about to hit councillors in the pocket, after both Haringey Labour and Liberal Democrat parties decided NOT to take a pay rise …

Councillor Claire Kober, Leader of the Labour-controlled council, said, “… This move will mean any savings can go straight into providing essential services for the people of Haringey.”

So, do you think that Labour voted through changes that resulted in the council’s allowances bill:

a) Staying the same, or
b) Increasing by £44,751 (7%)?

I’ll …

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Baby P’s death “could and should” have been stopped

The awful news about the second case of child abuse involving someone Haringey Council was meant to be protecting – with the conviction of the boyfriend of Baby P’s mother for raping a two-year old – has rather pushed to one side the publication of the second Serious Case Review into Baby P’s death.

The original Serious Case Review concluded that essentially nothing too significant was done wrong by those involved in protecting Baby P, but was rapidly discredited once its finding were publicised. This new review paints a very different picture, including the key conclusion that the death of Baby

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Mainstream media catches up with concerns over Haringey Chief Exec Ita O’Donovan

Evening Standard, 12 March 2009:

The head of the council at the centre of the Baby P scandal faces questions today over a series of other child protection failures.

Haringey chief executive Ita O’Donovan has held senior positions at three councils that were condemned for failing children so seriously that the Government was forced to intervene.

Dr O’Donovan has worked in authorities embroiled in some of the country’s most shocking child deaths. She has said she considered resigning over the Baby P tragedy but decided the council needed stability.

She was in charge of Stoke-on-Trent council when 15-year-old Gareth Myatt choked and died

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Opinion: Civil liberties in a modern context

What does an innocent person have to fear?” That’s one of the most common arguments rolled out time and time again to justify chipping away at our freedoms. If you’re innocent why should you be worried if the government can do X, knows Y or stops Z?

The counter-arguments tend to be a mix of principle and pragmatism. Principled arguments around issues such as rights that we have as humans and the restrictions there should be on what governments can do. Pragmatic arguments such as the costs (e.g. spend money on ID cards or on police?), practicalities (e.g. what odds that …

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The 12 Op-Eds of Xmas (Day 11)

Throughout the festive season, LDV is offering our readers a load of repeats another chance to read the 12 most popular opinion articles which appeared on the blog during 2008. The second most popular opinion article was by Alix Mortimer, and appeared on LDV on 16th November…

After Baby P: what can be done?

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Old habits linger on at Haringey Council as Labour block Baby P debate

This morning’s newspapers brought the news that the head of Ofsted is accusing Haringey Council of misleading her inspectors:

Ofsted’s assessment of local authorities’ children’s services last year consisted of a checklist of the information managers had to provide to demonstrate, among other things, that they had adequate social workers and were assessing children promptly. Managers in Haringey misled Ofsted by providing inaccurate data, the chief inspector said.

Tactics used by the council included claims that managers had assessed children promptly when the files revealed that those assessments were in fact incomplete. The same files showed that such assessments of children

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A word of warning for councillors everywhere

From the Ofsted report into Haringey and Baby P’s death:

The reliance on national and local performance indicators is too great and does not enable understanding of the quality and effectiveness of service provision on the ground.

A warning about what can go wrong which applies to many areas of councillors’ work, and not just the tragic circumstances of Baby P’s death.

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David Lammy’s record under the spotlight

The attitude of David Lammy (MP for Tottenham, one of the two constituency in Haringey) towards evidence of problems with Haringey’s children’s services has been coming under increasing scrutiny and it doesn’t look good.

David Lammy was warned by a whistle blower of severe problems in Haringey six months before Baby P’s death. Yet as Paul Waugh pointed out in the Evening Standard, David Lammy was happy to defend Sharon Shoesmith and Haringey Council even after this warning and after Baby P’s death (a defence that was prominent on both his website and in the links on his

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Haringey Chief Executive has worked at three councils where children’s services failed

Haringey Council Chief Executive Ita O’Donovan turns out to have held a senior post at three different councils where the children’s services were so poor that the Government had to intervene directly.

Not only is she currently the Chief Executive of Haringey Council, heavily criticised over the death of Baby P,  but she was previously City Manager (the most senior staff role) at Stoke-on-Trent where the Government warned children were being put at risk in the month she started at Haringey, and before that she was Assistant Chief Executive at Newham Council (1998-2001). In February 2001 the Government ordered the …

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David Lammy: then and now

Paul Waugh’s blog has a post contrasting what David Lammy used to say about Baby P’s death with what he’s now saying:

November 19, BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme:

“Over the course of the weekend, 61 headteachers that have more experience than you or I, or Lynne Featherstone, have offered their reassurance that they feel Haringey has been protecting children.

December 1, BBC News 24:

“Clearly lessons have not been learned.  I think it is right that there is new leadership in Haringey.  This is a very dark and sad day for the people

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Haringey Chief Executive Ita O’Donovan was in charge at Stoke just before its children services were condemned

Haringey Council Chief Executive, Ita O’Donovan was previously city manager at Stoke-on-Trent Council (the top staff person in their then directly elected Mayor system). Her departure to become Haringey Chief Executive was announced in November 2005, and Ita O’Donovan took up post in Haringey in March 2006.

And in that same month, March 2006, the then Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes wrote that council failings were putting children in Stoke at risk:

In one letter, dated 15 March 2006, the minister wrote to Mr Meredith saying a report into care provided by Stoke City Council showed there were “critical weaknesses”

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[email protected]: Lynne Featherstone – ‘Put Haringey on probation now’

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, Lynne Featherstone MP writes about the devastating Baby P report into Haringey Council. Read it in full here, but here’s Lynne’s trenchant critique:

I have never seen such a damning and devastating criticism of an authority as this litany of failure – both systemic and personal, and at every level and, more or less, in every agency. But particularly singled out for special damnation: Haringey council. So, given all that, what an earth is Ed Balls doing commissioning more reports and waiting until next June before removing Haringey children’s services from council

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Anonymity and criminal justice

Legal anonymity has been much in the news lately what with the shocking cases of Baby P and the abused Sheffield sisters. Barrister Antony Hook weighs up a few pros and cons.

Openness is a hallmark of justice in a democratic state. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” was how US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it. It is obvious why. The hard experience of history is that public officials, judges included, serve best when people can see what they do, to whom they do it, and on what basis.

The secrecy in Baby P’s case is a striking exception. One killer, Jason Owen, has been named but the other two have not. I do not know why that is but the trial judge must consider that the interests of justice require it. The press can ask the judge to lift reporting restrictions and appeal to a higher court. The judge’s reasons should be reportable, although I have not seen them in print or online.

There are other occasions when dark glasses are put on to Justice Brandeis’ cleansing sunbeams. Anonymity is almost always granted to children in the criminal courts. Most trials of juveniles are closed to the public. This is partly to make the hearing more relaxed so young defendants can give their best account of themselves. It also helps ensure that a youthful misdemeanour does not obstruct maturity into law-abiding adulthood. Rape victims, like the sisters in Sheffield subjected to 25 years’ abuse by their father, have anonymity – before and after a jury consider their allegation – unless they waive their right to it. Anonymity helps victims who would not otherwise come forward.

It is, sadly, also a comfort to makers of false complaints. A few militant anti-rape campaigners regard any mention of false complaints as an attack on all rape victims. But only last week, a 22 year old Gloucester woman pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by inventing a rape claim. She will serve just a few months in prison. Without diminishing our support for anonymity to help victims come forward, we must accept that it encourages a few false complainants to pursue life destroying lies.

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What do social workers think should happen following the death of Baby P?

From the BBC:

Eight out of 10 social workers who responded to a poll think new managers should be brought in at Haringey Council in the wake of Baby P’s death.

The Community Care website survey also found 86% of 250 respondents felt that the case of Baby P reflected wider childcare protection problems…

Community Care is a website and magazine for people working in the social care sector, at all levels of seniority.

Its readers’ poll found that 79% of respondents felt new managers should be brought in at Haringey Council following the Baby P

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After Baby P: what can be done?

Recently, Lib Dem Voice has been snowed under with hits and comments from new readers, all expressing their anger in the face of the Baby P tragedy. (If you’re a regular, you won’t find anything in this post you don’t already know – fear not, normal LDV service will soon be resumed, but this does seem something of a special case).

If you’re one of those new readers, I’d like to suggest ways you can put your anger to good use. We can all talk endlessly about who’s to blame, what should be

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Sky: Credit to Lynne over Baby P case

Here’s Jon Craig on Sky’s Boulton & Co blog:

Only one person emerges from the Baby P tragedy with credit: the Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone. Throughout this tawdry affair, in which the conduct of Haringey Council – Labour-run since 1971 – has been scandalous and the Government’s response sluggish until after the Brown-Cameron clash, she has campaigned with dignity and determination.

Just moments after that ill-tempered Commons bust-up between David Cameron and Gordon Brown, the Hornsey and Wood Green MP asked the Prime Minister a question in a measured but forthright tone.

As she pointed out, she was leader of the

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Baby P: CPS confirms information was withheld from the police by Haringey Council

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed The Times’s report that Haringey Council initially withheld information about the Baby P case from the police and lawyers:

It has also emerged Haringey Council did not disclose all information surrounding the case of Baby P to police and prosecutors until ordered to do so by a judge. A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “We can confirm that not everything was disclosed until the judge requested that everything should be disclosed at the beginning of the trial.” (The Telegraph)

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Baby P

After the horrific story of Baby P came out, where each detail seems to add yet another awful question (how can you get away with hiding injuries with chocolate smears? how can a doctor fail to notice that a baby’s back is broken?), and then the desperately unseemly sight of MPs bawling at each other across the House of Commons (what a collective failure of decency by those sitting behind Brown and Cameron who somehow thought that was an appropriate way to behave when the death of baby was being discussed), we now have this:

The Times has also learnt that

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PMQs: Nick tackles Gordon on “big, permanent and fair” tax cuts

Today’s PMQs underlined to me how utterly hollow and rotten the institution really is. It’s not just that it couldn’t be more archaic if the protagonists were daubed with woad. It’s how it makes them behave. The aspect being chiefly reported is a horrifically self-important tussle between Cameron and Brown over a dead baby.

In case you are lucky enough not to know about this yet, Baby P was killed recently in North London after months of abuse during which time he had been the subject of supervision from various health and child protection agencies, all of whom

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