BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Climbie inquiry attacks watchdog
The document criticises Haringey Social Services
The official inquiry into the murder of abuse victim Victoria Climbie has accused a government watchdog of hampering its investigation.

Lord Laming, the inquiry's chairman, said its findings were delayed because the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) submitted a vital report three weeks after the first hearing ended in February this year.

The investigation has re-opened to allow experts to assess the report's implications.


I did not expect to encounter any such difficulty with a department of government

Inquiry chairman Lord Laming

The document casts doubt on an earlier report which backed Haringey Social Services, the department responsible for the eight-year-old.

Victoria had 128 separate injuries on her body when she died, in February 2000, after months of abuse at the hands of her great aunt Marie Therese Kouao and her aunt's boyfriend Carl Manning.

Both are serving life sentences for the child's murder.

The head of the SSI apologised via her lawyer to the inquiry on Tuesday for not realising the document's significance.

Publication delayed

Lord Laming said the actions of the SSI, a branch of the Health Department, had in turn delayed the publication of the inquiry's report into Victoria's death by at least three months.

Denise Platt
Denise Platt did not attend the hearing
"I cannot emphasise strongly enough that I did not expect to encounter any such difficulty with a department of government - least of all from one of the departments that established this inquiry," he said.

The inquiry is expected to make radical recommendations for reform of Britain's child protection services.

It will now not be available until December.

Contradictory accounts

Independent Review findings
Haringey Council struggling to meet responsibilities for children/ families
Council below average for spending on children and families
Social workers dedicated, hard-working and relatively stable
But council staff only just coping with workload
The document in question contradicted a report into Haringey Social Services from February of that year which had said service-users were "generally well served".

This earlier report was heavily relied on during the inquiry by the council against charges of incompetence.

However the internal review concluded this report had presented "an overly positive picture of Haringey's social services, particularly children's services".

The document was ready by April 2001 but the hearing was told the SSI presumed the document was not relevant to the inquiry.

But Lord Laming said: "It is manifestly clear that this document was of potential importance to this inquiry."

Denise Platt, the SSI head said, in a statement read out by her lawyer, that "with hindsight" the report was relevant.

"I sincerely apologise for not appreciating this earlier."

Ms Platt did not attend the hearing.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kim Catcheside
"An internal report has not been presented to the inquiry until now"

Click here to go to London

Key stories

Background

THE TRIAL

TALKING POINT
See also:

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes