Shannon Matthews review launched

An serious case review into the contact social services had with the family of Shannon Matthews before she was kidnapped has been ordered by Kirklees council.

The announcement came after Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik called for a review to look at whether “sufficient resources were being allocated to child protection in Kirklees”.

Shannon’s mother, Karen, 33, and 40-year-old Michael Donovan were found guilty on Thursday of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

According to an investigation by BBC1’s Panorama, Matthews had been identified by social services as a danger to her children three years before she orchestrated the kidnap pf her own daughter.

The BBC claims that neighbours complained about the 33-year-old three times in the past and Shannon and her six siblings had been placed on the child protection register.

A psychological report of Matthews in 2003 found her ability to protect her children was “compromised by her inability to successfully place the children’s needs above her own”.

“Karen will require constant monitoring and support throughout the lives of her children,” it concluded. However, by the time the report was published, the children had been removed from the register.

Mr Malik said Shannon’s was different from that of Baby P, whose death led to widespread criticism of the social services in Haringey council.

The MP said: “The truth is we don’t know what this actually is. I think the sensible thing is to have an independent review”.

In response, Alison O’Sullivan, director for children and young people at Kirklees council, said in a statement: “Very important issues concerning the children, the actions and plans of this local authority past, present and proposed will be scrutinised carefully”.

“We are acutely aware that the difficult issues surrounding child protection and the promotion of child welfare by local authorities are rightly the subject of huge public interest,” she added.

“Kirklees Council and the agencies it works alongside strive in all cases to achieve a proper balance between rigorous statutory intervention and social support for children and families who may be struggling to cope.”

Shannon went missing for 24 days in February before being found hidden inside a bed at Donovan’s flat in Dewsbury.