We need a fresh start in Haringey

Ed Balls made a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday about the Baby P case and the actions he was taking. Mr Balls was able to say to most questions essentially – I will wait until I get the report from the urgent investigation I have commissioned and then I will decide and act.

Understandable – except none of us have had access to the Serious Case Review full document. In response to requests by myself, David Laws (Lib Dem spokesperson on Children and Schools) and Michael Gove (Conservative spokesperson) Ed Balls has said that the Information Commissioner has ruled that such a document cannot be published – though as Iain Dale reports, that doesn’t seem to be the full story.

My tack, when Madam Deputy Speaker called me to ask my question in response to Ed Balls statement, was to call for three things to happen so that Haringey can have a new, fresh start – which is what we desperately need.

Firstly that those accountable must go – and the Children’s Act 2004 names those key accountable posts. It came into being because of Victoria Climbie’s death and Lord Laming’s subsequent report – so we should make sure the lesson learnt then is followed now.

Secondly – that Haringey be put under special measures so that we can be held safe whilst things are being resolved.

And thirdly that there would still be a need for a public inquiry because the two week urgent investigation cannot possibly touch on the wider issues. I give you two examples. Firstly, budgetary pressures. It became clear from the figures about how many children were taken into care in Haringey before and after Baby P’s death that Haringey was reducing the numbers of children being taken into care whilst Baby P was being visited all those times. Directly after (and part of which could be a natural reaction) the figures shot up. Also John Hemming, a Lib Dem MP colleague who specialises in this area, had also found figures on reductions because of budgetary pressures. So Haringey’s decisions around budgets needs scrutiny for starters.

A second example of an area needing wider scrutiny – what part did the fragile state of the health team charged with looking after health needs of children at risk in Haringey play? After all, the paediatrician who failed to diagnose Baby P’s broken back was a locum in that very department. A post deleted, the key post of ‘named doctor’ who has particular responsibility in Child Protection cases. £400,000 of cuts required by the PCT (Primary Care Trust). Doctors leaving because of unhappiness with management. An unbelievably high level of sickness. A high level of bullying found by the last Health Care Commission inspection. All in all – a service that needs looking at. Hopefully some of this will be being pursued anyway by the urgent investigation team – but there are wider issues to go in to.

I did go personally to see the Chair of Haringey PCT with all these concerns. I was told – this is no longer the concern or business of the PCT. They had ‘outsourced’ their health team to Great Ormond Street Hospital. So – in my limited research as to why such an important local service would be outsourced – this is what I have been told thus far. Great Ormond Street want to become a Foundation Trust Hospital. In order to do so it has to demonstrate ‘community outreach’. Great Ormond Street had none and no experience in that area. Hence it negotiated with Haringey to take on that department. Well – if that’s all the case, is that what should have happened?

And as I said to Ed Balls – there is a wealth of information that people are contacting me about that needs to come to the inspection and that’s why we need a public inquiry. And we need a new start with new faces at the top – so that everyone involved in child protection in Haringey is imbued with the necessary zeal and support to make that fresh start and to make our vulnerable children as safe as they can be.

0 thoughts on “We need a fresh start in Haringey

  1. As I have commented on Liberal England: “Possibly putting child protection and education together was a serious mistake.”

  2. The entire ruling group in Haringey should resign. Those who feel they are blameless could then stand for reelection. those who are stained would either quit altogether or be voted out.

  3. Balls is a disgrace. His every action says "So what?"Lynne. I am 57. Voted Labour in my first vote in 1970, and did so until Bliar lied us into Iraq. I can't ever see me voting Labour again; part of that is the creation of the client state to ensure eternal Labour rule, but more to the point, the assault on our hard-won freedoms since 9/11.Whenever I bring this up on other Labour MP's websites (Harris & McCarthy specifically), I am ignored. You will note I am articulate and literate. But very very angry. I know there are a lot of ex-Labour voters out here as well, lost as a result of ID cards, RIPA & it's misuse, and the increasing intrusion into our private lives made by NL. So bad, I now call you New Stasi.What have you to say to me, a disenfranchised voter who voted for you every time, nationally and locally, for over 30 years?

  4. Bureaucracies are the same everywhere, first and foremost, they are about protecting the bureaucracy.There will be token punishment meted out to all who failed this poor child and the bureaucracy will continue to spit out tragedies like this.That no one has resigned over this case speaks volumes.

  5. “What have you to say to me, a disenfranchised voter who voted for you every time, nationally and locally, for over 30 years?# Posted by Blogger Elby the Beserk @ 3:02 PM”Nothing, it seems. As expected. How I loath New Labour, and even more, the mendacious, nasty and vicious Brown, who will do anything to stay in power. I will him nothing but ill, and if I found him by the side of the road, on fire, would not waste my piss on him. Unless it were made of petrol. What did this country do to deserve this? I see again he’s going on about it all being America’s fault, this despite the IMF warning him from way back thata) Public borrowing is too highb) Private tooc) The housing bubble would burstd) and that UK sub-primes – note, UK, not USA, would be a major problemSo why, Lynne, does Brown lie to us? Why? Tell me, Lynne, WHY?

  6. Elby the Beserk – from reading your post firstly – I agree with you obviously about Labour and that’s why so many long time Labour loyalists switched their vote to me in 2005; and that happened because I am not Labour – I am Liberal Democrat – so your last sentence doesn’t apply. You didn’t vote for me for the last 30 years – but I hope you may next time.