Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Report reveals Baby P case details

Baby P was just 17 months old when he died in Tottenham, north London

A catalogue of failings by the agencies involved in Baby P's care has been laid bare with the publication of previously secret official reports.

The toddler's mother, Tracey Connelly, named her sadistic boyfriend as her next-of-kin on an official form but the authorities still failed to discover he was living with her, the documents revealed.

Meanwhile, child protection staff continued to believe Connelly's innocent explanations for the suspicious injuries that her son kept suffering.

The two detailed serious case reviews into the 2007 death of Baby P, now named as Peter Connelly, have been published in full for the first time.

The release of the widely different reports brought fresh scrutiny to sacked children's services director Sharon Shoesmith's handling of the mistakes of social workers under her management.

Ms Shoesmith, who was fired by Haringey Council in north London over failings exposed by Peter's death, chaired the first serious case review. Her report, completed in November 2008, was muted in its criticism of social workers.

But in December 2008 Ofsted inspectors ruled the first serious case review was inadequate and former children's secretary Ed Balls commissioned a fresh investigation into the toddler's death. The second report, chaired by independent child protection expert Graham Badman, was scathing about the decisions made by social workers, doctors, police and lawyers in December 2006.

The report condemned the "incompetent" practice of the majority of those involved in Peter's care and their "completely inadequate" approach to meeting the challenges of his case. It blasted the attitude of child protection professionals, who regarded Peter as a "routine case" who suffered injuries "as a matter of course".

Children's Minister Tim Loughton said there was a "certain complacency" to the first serious case review presided over by Ms Shoesmith. He added: "I think it was insufficiently thorough and insufficiently critical at trying to find out the underlying problems and the way that certain agencies did not interact with each other."

Ministers have also pledged to release the full serious case reviews for Shannon Matthews, whose own mother was involved in her kidnapping in February 2008, and the two young brothers who sadistically tortured two other boys in Edlington, South Yorkshire, in April 2009.

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