Full Baby Peter serious case reviews published

The government has published the full versions of two serious case reviews (SCRs) into the death of Baby Peter, in a bid to “improve transparency in the child protection system”.

Junior children’s minister Tim Loughton argued that the publication of the reports would allow child protection professionals across the country to learn valuable lessons.

“The reports have details of the events, which are shocking to read but are necessary to publish in order to learn from them,” he explained.

“The publication of these reports is not about apportioning blame but about allowing professionals to understand fully what happens in each case, and most importantly what needs to change in order to reduce the risk of such tragedies happening in the future.”

He claimed that Haringey Council has made significant progress in safeguarding since 2007, when Baby Peter died, adding that all full SCRs would be appropriately redacted to protect the welfare of vulnerable children and their families.

Graham Badman, chair of Haringey’s Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) said the death of Peter Connelly has caused “a fundamental re-appraisal of child protection services in Haringey and throughout the country”. 

“If Peter is to have a legacy, it is that other children are now safer as a consequence of the honest analysis of events that led to his death and the embedding in practice of the lessons learned,” he explained.

“Services in Haringey have improved dramatically but the LSCB will continue to be vigilant in both auditing and seeking improvement in the management and conduct of all services charged with child protection. 

“The publication of the full SCR marks an end point but also demonstrates the integrity and willingness to change of all services that contributed.”

Haringey’s lead member for children and young people Lorna Reith admitted that Baby Peter’s death “could and should have been prevented”.

“Since publication of the SCRs, whose recommendations we have implemented in full, it has been our top priority to bring about substantial change and improvement to children’s safeguarding in the borough,” she said.

“The recent unannounced inspection by Ofsted – which took place in August and reported in September – was tangible proof that significant progress has been in made but it is our responsibility to remain vigilant in Baby Peter’s memory and never stop improving.”

Hilton Dawson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), admitted that publishing full SCRs would help professionals to learn lessons, but argued that it would take much more to “put right the problems bedevilling social work”.

“We have never been afraid of publishing SCRs in full, provided the identities of innocent family members and professionals are protected, as we believe these reports should offer real opportunities to learn from mistakes and feed into better practice throughout the country without the vilification of those involved,” he said.

“The real risks to the social work profession currently lie elsewhere, most notably in the commitment of local authorities to protect vital social work services from the impact of spending cuts.”

In June, CYP Now broke the news on government plans to retrospectively publish the full serious case reviews of four high profile cases, including the Baby Peter case.

The full SCR into the death of Khyra Ishaq was also published in July.

Addressing the education select committee last month, Loughton admitted that concerns about one of the four cases may prevent its full publication.