I was asked by London Tonight which was more shocking – the fact that there was another child, who experienced similar failures by Haringey Children’s Services as Baby Peter – albeit this time thank goodness not ending in a death – or the fact this had only just come to light – four years after the event.
The first I heard of it was when Andrew Gilligan (Telegraph) ‘phoned me to ask my view. My only view – was why was I only now hearing about this case – and from a journalist rather than being briefed by the Labour Leader of the Council or CEO?
Child ‘Y’ happened at approximately the same period as Baby Peter – yet when the furore over Peter broke – there was no mention to me of another case.
It is not hugely surprising that there was another child being let down by Children’s Services at that time. Given the litany of casualness that came to light surrounding the care of Baby Peter – if those same fault lines were undermining the department – in fact it was inevitable.
So – the shocking thing to me is that, despite all the work going on by a staff who are working their socks off to turn Haringey Child protection around, the leadership still displays an unchanged culture in terms of secrecy and cover up. Why was there no statement, no explanation – only the Executive Summary of the Serious Case Review on Child ‘Y’ sneaked onto an obscure website?
How many times have I heard the leadership in Haringey say ‘lessons must be learned’? Sadly – the leadership has not learned one key lesson – that hiding things just makes it worse.
If the council leadership hide and cover up there is no incentive for mere staff to be honest or own up. I wonder if the whining Sharon Shoesmith told her employment tribunal about this when she was bleating about how hard done by she felt? and was trying to claim thousands for hurt feelings?
it’s bad enough there was another (any more) case. worse it has been covered up.
Does haringey council have an active and well publicised whistle-blowing policy? It sounds like they could benefit from one if a culture of pushing mistakes under the rug is damaging citizen welfare.
Quite bizarre how we have the criminal parents in such a case happily having custody of their child no matter what they do, whilst at the same time the government throws the very best and most loving parents in prison for the heinous crime of waving at their children. (well if they’re the father that is)
Lynne has spoken with sensitivity and compassion on this type of issue before in the House of Commons.
Dear readers of Lynns blog.
Whistleblowing policy failed in Haringey, not only in Social services where hopefully the culture is changing but also in health.
I counted 16 times that I raised concerns about our service in 2006/2007.
I have been clearly identified as a whistleblower by NHS London who investigated in depth my allegations, reported in December 2009. There is no doubt that the service at St Ann’s was unsafe in 2007 and that Baby Peters death was preventable. That was stated by the CQC and also reinforced by NHS London.The culture of fear remains within health at least, I cannot speak for the other agencies. I know that because despite all of the publicity and investigating no action was taken to address the managerial failings within the health service. This was not about one doctor who made a mistake, but a whole catalogue of errors starting from how long he waited for his appointment to see a paediatrician, failure of the medical staff to attend case conferences ( impossible I suspect due to the understaffing), lack of notes, inadequate supervision etc etc. The reason that there were too few doctors was partly because of cuts to the service and chronic underfunding but also resignations and overwork in those left behind. There has been a massive waste of public money in keeping me at home on full pay ( special leave) when the service desperately needed paediatricians. This is classical whistleblowing. Although we are told that our professional duty is to raise concerns about patient safety, actually it is unwelcome in a context of too much work and inadequate resources. Targets still need to be met. When the quality of care falls below acceptable levels medical staff will feel that responsibilty and become upset, if they care. I am speaking out because vulnerable children need advocates. We see as community paediatricians the needs of the children and families on a daily basis and if we are unable to provide for those needs we need to alert our managers. There needs to be complete transparency and openness. If there are insufficient resources to provide an adequate Safeguarding system lets be open about it but not pretend that we are doing a job that we cannot possibly fulfil. Do not punish those who try to improve the service.
Despite the NHS London report advising that efforts should be made to facilitate my return to my job, it has not yet been put in place. This is about the leadership within the health side clearly stating that whistleblowers will be supported and that any negative treatment of those who genuinely want to improve services is no longer tolerated. I hope that is the case.