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New job "affront to public opinion"

The move to a new child protection role by the head of a children's services department, identified for its part in failings over a young boy beaten to death by his mother and stepfather, has been heavily criticised.

Colin Green, who retired as director of children's services at Coventry City Council at the end of last month, is the incoming independent chairman of Tower Hamlets Safeguarding Children Board in London.

The move came to light in the week a serious case review into the death of four-year-old Daniel Pelka found key opportunities were missed to intervene in his case by the city's children's services team, together with health professionals, school staff, police and other child protection agencies.

Geoffrey Robinson, Labour MP for the area of Coventry where Daniel and his family lived, said he was "stunned" at the news of Mr Green's appointment, which he claimed was "an affront to public opinion".

He also called on the chief executive of the city council Martin Reeves, who this week apologised for the council's failings, to state what he knew of Mr Green's appointment and asked whether the council provided him with a reference for the job. Mr Robinson said he would also raise the appointment with the Government.

The Department for Education, and Coventry City Council, said the appointment was a matter for Tower Hamlets Council. The London borough council said Mr Green had been appointed by a multi-agency panel in June with all such decisions "based on the merits of each applicant".

Daniel died of a head injury in March 2012, after a systematic campaign of emotional and physical abuse by his mother Magdelena Luczak and brutal former soldier and stepfather Mariusz Krezolek, both originally from Poland.

Despite these signs, the serious case review report authors found that nobody had ever spoken to Daniel independently about his home life nor acted decisively to intervene in his care. It also found the child protection agencies had been taken in by the "web of lies" spun by Daniel's mother and stepfather, and should instead have been "thinking the unthinkable" about what was really going on.

The serious case review by Coventry Safeguarding Children Board, published on Tuesday, concluded the young boy had become almost "invisible" to the people who were supposed to protect children from abuse and recommended improvements to working practices, record-keeping and inter-agency communication.

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said: "We can confirm that a new chair has been appointed to Tower Hamlets Safeguarding Children Board. The multi-agency appointments panel sat in June 2013 and all appointment decisions are based on the merits of each applicant, their suitability for the post and information available at the time."


From Belfast Telegraph