Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Baby death sparks Haringey review

Ed Balls: "It is our duty to take whatever action is needed"

The government has ordered an immediate review of children's welfare services in a north London borough where a 17-month-old baby was killed.

The review will examine the role of all agencies involved in the case of Baby P who had suffered horrific abuse.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls said the review would "ensure that children in Haringey are safe".

The boy's mother admitted causing his death while two men were convicted of the same offence.

Baby P had been on the register of at-risk children in Haringey before his death and had been visited 60 times in eight months by social workers, police and health professionals.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron clashed in the Commons during a series of angry exchanges over the case.

Mr Cameron had urged the government to intervene in Haringey saying it was "completely unacceptable" that an internal review into the baby's death had been overseen by the authority's own children's services director.

Jason Owen, one of the two men convicted
Jason Owen was convicted of "causing or allowing the death of a child"

"She cannot possibly investigate the failure of her own department," he said.

The prime minister later told Mr Cameron: "I do regret making a party political issue of this."

When Mr Cameron demanded he withdraw the comment, Mr Brown did not with Labour MPs attempting to shout over the Tory leader.

Speaker Michael Martin intervened several times warning MPs against "shouting across this chamber".

Later children's secretary Mr Balls said the case of Baby P was "tragic and appalling" and there was evidence of "poor quality practice, management and supervision of staff in all agencies".

He said Ofsted, the Healthcare Commission and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary would carry out an "urgent" review of services involved in child welfare in Haringey.

The Conservatives said the review was a vindication of its view that Haringey Council "should not be the judge and jury in any inquiry".

Lynne Featherstone for the Liberal Democrats welcomed the news of an inquiry into the council's services for children but urged an independent public inquiry.

Baby P died in the same borough where eight-year-old Victoria Climbie was tortured to death in 2000.

She was starved and beaten to death by her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend - her death triggered a public inquiry which in turn led to a raft of recommendations for children's services across the country.

Mr Balls has demanded a first draft of the report should be submitted to ministers by 1 December.

Those convicted over baby P's death will be sentenced on 15 December.


Angry scenes at PMQs as Gordon Brown accuses David Cameron of playing "party politics" over Baby P

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Angry leaders clash over Baby P
12 Nov 08 |  UK Politics

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Telegraph Baby P: Ministers were warned of babies at risk - 50 mins ago
Washington Post Britain in Shock Over Abuse Death of Toddler - 1 hr ago
Telegraph Baby P: Ministers were warned babies were at risk - 1 hr ago
Sky News Whistleblower Warned Of Failings - 2 hrs ago
Sky News Haringey Alert Was Issued - 2 hrs ago

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