Children’s secretary to face questions over Baby P’s death

Children’s secretary Ed Balls will today face questions over the failings of social services at Haringey council.

The case, which led to the death of 17-month-old Baby P last year, gained national media attention last week after the boyfriend of the baby’s mother and their lodger were found guilty of “causing or allowing” the infant’s death in August 2007.

Subsequently it was discovered that healthcare workers visited the family 60 times before the child’s death and it was alleged that the Department for Children, Schools and Families received a letter six months before suggesting that child protection procedures were not being followed.

The letter from Nevres Kemal, who was working on a separate case of sexual abuse, warned government figures that Haringey council was failing to act on her information.

The Conservatives have criticised the bureaucratic nature of social services in light of the case.

Shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove said last week: “The public are tired of hearing that ‘correct procedures have been followed’ when a child died in agony.
“Ministers were told six months before Baby P’s death that there were profound problems in Haringey’s children’s services department. Yet all that appears to have happened is the sacking and gagging of the whistleblower and bureaucratic buck-passing in Whitehall.”

Following the political storm Mr Balls launched a joint area review of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Haringey, which is being carried out by Ofsted, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

The review must present its findings to the children’s secretary by December 1st.