Today’s Evening Standard:
GOVERNMENT inspectors gave Haringey’s social services a clean bill of health just weeks after the death of Baby P, the Standard can reveal.
The council’s children and young people’s services chief Sharon Shoesmith received a glowing report from Ofsted in a report written by an inspector who had been a senior Haringey official. Inspectors led by Juliet Winstanley, who worked under Ms Shoesmith, congratulated her former boss’s department on providing “a good service for children” and working well with police to tackle domestic violence. The praise came despite accusations that Haringey failed to pass on all relevant documents to officers investigating Baby P’s death.
Now the same watchdog has been sent in by Children and Schools Secretary Ed Balls to find out why the baby was left to die. The revelations will raise fears that the new Ofsted investigation could be tainted…
[Ofsted said] The study was “a paper-based exercise and not an in-depth inspection”.
“There are major differences between the thorough inspection we are currently leading in Haringey and last year’s review.
“Looking at policies, procedures and paperwork gives part of the picture, but cannot of itself safeguard vulnerable children like Baby P.”
Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said she had “no confidence” in Ofsted’s new investigation.
She described Ms Winstanley’s report as “quite extraordinary”.
This all raises yet another set of questions we need answers to.
Under Blair, the Office of Government Commerce was also doing paperchase investigations, giving no-hope IT projects clean or relatively clean assessments. But in 2006 Brown quietly used OGC (part of Treasury) to carry out in-depth investigations of the biggest. Some 5 years ago Blair had had some such investigations done, but then actively blocked any reform. Brown arrived in office informed, and as yet he has neither blocked nor reformed, but he is allowing discussion and has managed to transfer Govt Gateway (and some associated EU collaboration) out of Cabinet Office into the much more competent DWP. Is he a slow burner, perhaps? Is there a battle going on in the background?