Official reports on Baby P’s death made public for first time
THE Government today published two official reports into Baby Peter’s death, claiming it would restore public confidence and improve transparency in the child protection system.
Peter Connelly, a 17-month-old boy, died after suffering horrific abuse – and more than 50 injuries - at the hands of his mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker, and her boyfriend’s brother Jason Owen, in Tottenham.
The two reports, which are known as a Serious Case Review, provide a chronology of Peter’s death and show the points of contact he had with social workers, police and health professionals before his death in August 2007.
The first Serious Case Review, which was published in November 2009, was written by Sharon Shoesmith, who was then director of Haringey’s children’s services.
Ed Balls, who was Children’s Secretary at the time, called for it to be re-written after government inspectors found it to be “inadequate”. This second version, which was published in March 2009, was also released today.
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It concludes: “The interventions were not sufficiently authoritative by almost every agency.”
It also states that Peter’s death “could and should” have been prevented.
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Both reports note how the various agencies failed to realise that Steven Barker, Peter’s mother’s boyfriend, was living at the family home and might have been abusing him.
The second report states: “There was too ready a willingness to believe Ms A’s (Tracey Connelly) account of herself, her care of her children, the composition of her household and the nature of her friendship networks…
“The other problem was the failure to establish the identity of Mr H (Steven Barker).”
At a press conference at Wood Green Civic Centre today, the Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said: “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…
“After two years of high-profile reporting, I want today’s publication of the Peter Connelly reports to bring some form of closure, so everyone – family and professionals – involved in this tragic case has the chance to move on.”
Graham Badman chairman of Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Board, who commissioned the second report, said: “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.”
Lynne Featherstone Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green said: “It is a right and just decision to publish the full Serious Case Review. Public confidence can only be restored after the full story behind the tragic failings that led to Baby Peter’s death is known.”