Inspectors begin review into Haringey's child services after baby death

INDEPENDENT inspectors have started reviewing Haringey s child protection services today, in the face of a national outcry at the horrific death of Baby P. The 17-month-old child, who was on the council s at risk register , died after months of abuse at

INDEPENDENT inspectors have started reviewing Haringey's child protection services today, in the face of a national outcry at the horrific death of Baby P.

The 17-month-old child, who was on the council's "at risk register", died after months of abuse at the hands of his 27-year-old mother, her 32-year-old lover and 36-year-old lodger at the Haringey council house where they lived.

They are all facing prison sentences this week, for allowing the "death of a child", following an 11-week trial at the Old Bailey.

But in the aftermath of the court case, attention has now turned on how so many professionals failed to protect the child, known as Baby P for legal reasons.

Despite being seen 60 times by Haringey social workers and health care professionals, Baby P was subjected to months of sadistic abuse.

The case has prompted a national outcry because of its similarity to Victoria Climbié's death in 2000.

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The eight-year-old girl was murdered by her guardians in a house which was just streets away from Baby P's home, when she was also known to Haringey social services.

Ed Balls, the minister for children, schools and families said: "The case of Baby P is tragic and appalling. It is our duty to take whatever action is needed to ensure that such a tragedy doesn't happen again, that lessons are learned and that children in Haringey are safe."

Mr Balls admitted that inspite of Lord Laming's report in the wake of the Climbié case, each agency had "singly and collectively" failed to adhere to the procedures recommended for child protection cases and that family friends had been used "inappropriately" as foster carers.

Baby P, a blond haired, blue eyed tot, was found to have up to 50 injuries including a broken back, which would have left him paralysed from the waist down, bruising all over his body - and his fingernails and one of his finger tips missing.

During the course of the trial, the jury heard how his mother watched pornography while her lover, who was not the child's father, treated him like a "punch bag".

A Tottenham locum consultant, Dr Sabah Alzayyat, who saw him two days before he died failed to spot the little boy had a broken back. She claimed in court that she was unable to examine him because he was "miserable and cranky".

The court also heard how Baby P's mother smeared chocolate and cream on his face to disguise bruises when social workers visited her Haringey Council house, and consistently covered up that her violent lover was living there.

Yet despite the failings, Sharon Shoesmith chief executive of Haringey social services, has refused to resign and declared that no-one would be sacked.

Cllr Liz Santry, Haringey Council cabinet member for children and young people, said today: "On behalf of Haringey Council I would like to say how deeply saddened I am about the death of Baby P. This is a really tragic occurrence and the circumstances of his death are really dreadful.

She added: "The Government has arranged for inspectors to come into Haringey. They are arriving this afternoon and we absolutely welcome their arrival. We will do everything we can to be open and cooperative with them and the conclusions that they reach we will implement swiftly and comprehensively."

Meanwhile Lynne Featherstone MP has called for Ms Shoesmith and Cllr Liz Santry to both be sacked.

The inquiry will be carried out by Ofsted, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary to review Haringey social services. It was also announced that John Coughlan, director of children's services in Hampshire, will be seconded to work alongside Ms Shoesmith to ensure that proper procedures for safeguarding children are in place and are being properly applied.