Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

What we know of the Baby P case

Baby P
Baby P's "litany of injuries" horrified the public
In the days since the verdict against Baby P's mother and the two men who were found guilty of allowing or causing his death, there has been a deluge of claims and counter claims about the case.

Many questions about why Baby P was allowed to die remain unanswered, although a number of different inquiries have now been launched.

The downward spiral that led to Baby P's death began in the summer of 2006 when his mother left her husband and became involved with a new boyfriend, who was eventually convicted over the case.
Computer graphics of Baby P's injuries
Baby P died of multiple injuries including a broken back

In the months between his mother's marital breakdown and Baby P's death, there were as many as 60 times that they came into contact with the social services and other interested agencies.

Baby P was taken to hospital on a number of occasions with a variety of bumps and bruises, all of which his mother attempted to explain away.

She said he was a child who bruised easily and who was clumsy.

Regardless, Baby P was added to the at risk register and after a five week stint where he was placed in the care of a friend of his mother's it has emerged there was disagreement about whether he should be returned to his family.


A whistleblower warned the government of alleged failings in child protection in Haringey six months before Baby P died.

Former social worker Nevres Kemal sent a letter about her concerns to the government in February 2007.

Nevres Kemal
Nevres Kemal was concerned about child protection in Haringey

It is not thought that ministers saw the letter, and BBC home affairs editor Mark Easton says it appears to have failed to reach the people who could have acted upon it.

Ms Kemal's lawyer, Lawrence Davies claimed if the letter had been acted on it would have been "hard to believe" Baby P's death "couldn't have been averted".


BBC Panorama reporter Alison Holt has found there was a split in Haringey social services over how to protect the boy at the start in December 2006.

Central to this difference in opinion was senior social worker Sylvia Henry, a team manager at the Tottenham social services office, who wanted Baby P to be taken into care and had found him a foster placement.

But Ms Henry was eventually instructed by service manager Clive Preece that Baby P should go home.

Panorama also learned police and social services had a serious disagreement over Baby P not being taken into care when he was admitted to the North Middlesex Hospital on 1 June 2007 with more non-accidental injuries.

The document also suggests that social services had become "too parent focussed" on the mother and that the mother's apparent co-operation had led to a "rule of optimism".


Much attention has naturally been given to what role Haringey Council played in the lead up to Baby P's death because of the previous case of Victoria Climbie, who died in Haringey in 2000 after a number of failings by Haringey social services and other agencies.

The public inquiry that followed, headed by Lord Laming, criticised the lack of communication between the different agencies and suggested an overhaul of child protection guidelines.

No-one in the council has lost their job as a result of the latest death.

But the council has said it is "truly sorry" for not doing more to protect Baby P.


Haringey Council denies Clive Preece overruled the concerns of the social workers dealing with Baby P's case in relation to placing Baby P into the care of Angela Godfrey, saying no concerns were raised.

It also denied there was disagreement with the police, saying it expected rigorous discussion between professionals when dealing with child protection. The council added that the police agreed with the way forward.

As to police concerns that social services were too "parent-focussed", the council denies this view was expressed at any time during discussions, adding that there seem to be some views that are "with the benefit of hindsight".

Haringey is also accused of failing to inform the police about the injuries Baby P suffered in April 2007, resulting in his admission to hospital.


Three inquiries and a national review have been launched in the wake of Baby P's death.

The inquiries are:

  • A government inquiry that will examine the role of the agencies involved, including the health authority, police and Haringey Council. The review by Ofsted, the Healthcare Commission and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary is due to make an initial report by 1 December
  • An "immediate independent review" announced by Haringey Council to examine its staff's actions and child protection across the north London borough
  • A review by the body that regulates social workers, the General Social Care Council, to look into potential breaches of its code of practice
  • A nationwide review by Lord Laming of his own recommendations after a similar case in Haringey, when eight-year-old Victoria Climbie was tortured to death in 2000.

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