Calls grow for more action on Baby P

An attempt to update MPs on the Baby P case has led to calls for a full public inquiry from opposition parties.

Children’s secretary Ed Balls told MPs: “Professionals working with children in this country do a tough job often in very difficult circumstances. They have a great responsibility and they make very difficult judgments every day.

“But where serious mistakes are made there must be proper accountability. We must never forget our first duty is to make sure all children are safe and protected from harm.”

Mr Balls reminded MPs a serious case review had started as soon as the death occurred. Working drafts had been shared with officials so changes to local agencies could be made immediately.

A full report, published earlier this month, led Mr Balls to conclude “there is clear evidence that agencies had failed singly and collectively to adhere to the statutory procedures for the proper management of child protection places”.

National inspectors have also been put into motion, indicating the government has concerns over local authorities outside of Haringey.

But opposition parties said the government was not moving quickly or effectively enough.

Replying to Mr Balls, shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove said: “The horrific circumstances of Baby P’s short, agonised life and terrible pain-racked death are imprinted indelibly on all our minds.

“The public are tired of hearing that the correct procedures have been followed when a child died in agony.

“They are, rightly, insistent that we act swiftly and comprehensively to hold those responsible in this affair to account and make the changes necessary to improve child protection across the country.”

And Liberal Democrat children’s spokesman David Laws called for a full public inquiry.

“Today’s statement from Ed Balls adds nothing new to our understanding of the tragic case of Baby P, nor does it address the serious concerns about the obvious weaknesses in child protection systems throughout England.

“The government’s superficial two week inquiry in Haringey is wholly inadequate. We now need a full public inquiry to establish the facts and to learn the lessons.

“It’s astonishing that, in spite of the obvious management failing in Haringey, the existing director of children’s services is still in place. She should immediately resign or be forced to stand down.”

The Baby P case has turned into a major political issue since his mother’s boyfriend and lodger were found guilty of causing or allowing death.

The baby had been seen over 60 times by the relevant authorities.