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Baby P - The blame factor

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Mark Easton | 16:27 UK time, Friday, 14 November 2008

Confronted by the appalling suffering and tragic death of Baby P, our first response is shock. Anger quickly follows.Then the questions. How did it happen? Who is to blame? Why wasn't it prevented?

The dehumanised computer images of the anonymous tortured infant somehow serve to heighten the clamour for quick answers to these important questions.

But there are some who worry that, if we are not careful, the process becomes as much about seeking vengeance as understanding. We need someone to blame.

Press calls for "heads to roll" reflect public demands for swift justice to be meted out. The horrors of the last few days need a lightning rod before the matter can be put to one side, it seems.

HaringeyYesterday's apology from Haringey council was designed to offer something to the angry mob.

It was very different from previous statements which had defended Haringey's "three-star" services.

There was recognition of errors having been made, of their responsibility to protect the little boy and their failure. And they said "sorry" - still not the apology TO the father of Baby P that some had demanded - but the first expression of deep sorrow nevertheless.

But now the focus has shifted to politicians. Should government ministers have done more to save the life of Baby P?

It has emerged that a social worker from Haringey wrote to the then Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt in February 2007 warning that "child abuse victims were not being protected" in the borough. Nevres Kemal is no longer employed by Haringey and cannot speak about the events because of a court injunction.

It is a situation that prompted an immediate attack from the Conservative Children's spokesman Michael Gove.

"All that appears to have happened is the sacking and gagging of the whistleblower and bureaucratic buck-passing in Whitehall. We need a proper explanation of what steps were taken at the highest level to investigate the concerns raised."

Since that statement earlier today, the plot has thickened.

Nevres KemalIt now appears that the warning from the social worker was passed on to the body responsible for inspecting child protection services in England at that time - the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

But it was a quango in flux. Within weeks it would lose its responsibility for checking children in England were safe.That power would shift to Ofsted on 1 April 2007.

Despite the distractions of the handover, the organisation says its inspectors "acted upon the information in the letter and investigated Haringey's response to the allegations made".

Well it depends what you mean by "acted".The Commission confirmed to me this afternoon that they did not speak to Ms Kemal after receiving the warning that children in Haringey were in danger, instead, they put her concerns on the agenda of a regular meeting they were having with council officials a few weeks later.

The matter was discussed and the inspectors were "satisife with the assurances" they got from Haringey council. Case, apparently, closed.

Now comes the confusion.

The commission tells me that a "note" of the warning was sent over to Ofsted when they took responsibility for inspecting England's child services in April.

But Ofsted tell me "that letter did not come to us".

At the point of handover, they say, the "government's transition order" meant only matters that were "live on the 1st of April" became their responsibility.

The complaint from the Haringey social workers had been dealt with and "closed" by the Commission. And so, the spokesperson told me, Ofsted was not informed about it.
Where did the warning go?

It may have made no difference to what happened to Baby P. But scrutiny around the case is intense. With four separate investigations under way, one would hope the difficult questions will be answered.

However, government ministers had a duty to ensure that children in England remained protected during the bureaucratic reorganisation. At exactly the time the Commission was handing over responsibility to Ofsted, Baby P was being abused in north London.

Some will suggest the little boy may have slipped through the cracks.

The hunt for someone to blame goes on.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:45pm on 14 Nov 2008, delminister wrote:

    social services are a joke and have failed in so many cases the whole system should be scrapped and a leaner more efficiant service developed.

    once they fail in one case they jump on the next family in trouble in ways that ruin that family.

    they then create results to improove there standings but they have ruined my family and they still hold onto petty refferences not doing there jobs putting one child in danger is what they call care.

    i feel sorry for the next family to have a problem under this social services .

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  • 2. At 5:47pm on 14 Nov 2008, freddieandtom wrote:

    I do not think it is about blame, more about people being made to take responsibility for their gross misconduct.

    How can on the one hand a society insist that Russell Brand loses his job because he was a bit rude while at the same time the people in charge of child welfare at Haringey Council remain in theirs after the brutal torture and death of a vunerble child IN THEIR CARE.
    It does not make sense.

    The only way this will not happen again is if people are held responsible and lose their jobs. They still have their life which is more than Baby P.

    If those at Haringey council involved in this case did not after 60 visits notice something was very wrong none of them should be in the jobs they hold now. It is not safe for the other vunerable children in their care.

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  • 3. At 5:52pm on 14 Nov 2008, WorldWarIV wrote:

    Some crimes are so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment." US President elect B. Obama.


    Maybe if we punished properly in the first place, we would not seek scapegoats?

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  • 4. At 5:54pm on 14 Nov 2008, stanilic wrote:

    The issue with Haringey is that lightning has struck twice in the same place.

    Not only that, a former employee had previously complained to the authorities that matters at Haringey were not as they ought to be.

    It is not a case of blame. The public is appalled that nobody seems to be taking responsibility.

    We pay a fortune to government, both local and national, for what they do. The senior people in these organisations, we are told, need to be paid large salaries so that the public can have the best services.

    Yet, the same dreadul event has happened
    twice in the same place. Are we to expect a third? A fourth? A fifth?

    The public expect accountability from those in public service. We don't seem to be getting it.

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  • 5. At 6:36pm on 14 Nov 2008, JA wrote:

    Yes, of course we have to trace the catalogue of failures and try to put them right. But what stands out in this case - apart from the fact that no neighbours or family apparently noticed the suffering or heard the screams of this tortured child until they could talk to the papers afterwards - is the behaviour of Haringey. Sixty visits. Not six visits, or sixteen visits, but SIXTY. And they want us to believe that it's understandable that nobody noticed how bad things were?

    What kind of fools would we be to believe this? Of COURSE heads should roll. The boss of social services obviously ran a grossly dysfunctional and inefficient department. And she is being paid £100,000 of public money every year. Why?

    The first step must be to stop her from ever working again. Her incompetence has cost at least one life.

    And pray God someone competent is brought in to sort out Haringey .

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  • 6. At 6:44pm on 14 Nov 2008, euro100 wrote:

    The mantra that "correct procedures were followed" is as pathetic as the suggestion that falling between the cracks of a "quango in flux" is in some way an explanation for a situation that allowed the death of a child.

    Cassius has it absolutely right when he says that even an incompetent minister should have understood the implications of the warnings and the actions which followed.

    haringey ministerial dissembly begins

    This Government continues to churn out spin after spin justifying the bureaucratic public service they have created in order to make the public believe they are competent and caring.

    Those on the front line of these services have known for ages that the reality was very different to the spin, the real tragedy is that it takes the death of another child to wake the public up to it.

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  • 7. At 6:57pm on 14 Nov 2008, rg wrote:

    I'm not sure about "the hunt for someone to blame", we know so little about this case. Surely the top priority is to discover if there has been a systemic failure and if so to fix it.

    Whilst writing perhaps I have missed this; I wonder why when Baby B is dead why are he and his killers identities being protected? There is so much about this business that smacks of a cover up.

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  • 8. At 6:57pm on 14 Nov 2008, kcband8 wrote:

    Of course we want someone to blame - because somebody IS to blame.
    Its not the BBC's job to protect individuals who are paid big sums of money and then cry "its not my fault guv"
    Remember, the person who might have to resign will not suffer any hardship - the taxpayer will reward generously

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  • 9. At 7:16pm on 14 Nov 2008, Things were better under Harold Wilson wrote:

    I think this 'letter' is an utter red herring.

    The social worker concerned was being disciplined for gross misconduct for issues within her private life. She escaped dismissal, but was left with a final written warning.

    It is in this context that this 'warning' has to be viewed. Anyone who has worked in local government - like I have - knows that disciplinary actions get ugly. Letters like the one referred to in this case get bandied about - to the minister, to the Prime Minister, to the local press. Journalists are often copied in, but rarely do stories. Why? Because they phone the council's press office and are given the whole context within which the letter has been written.

    Child protection was in a state of crisis in Haringey. Really? Goodness. What a shock. Why would a letter from a disgruntled social worker facing disciplinary charges be carried to the PM's desk? It's nonsense and distracts from the real issues in the case. Michael Gove should be ashamed of himself - as I am sure he knows full well what such letters mean - and the BBC should moderate it's facile 'who knew' questions.

    I am far more concerned that the doctor involved 'missed' a broken back. Presumably if that information had resided with social services, the decision to return the child may have been different.

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  • 10. At 7:33pm on 14 Nov 2008, Ace wrote:

    I cringe when I see 'we followed guidelines/ procedures', it seems to replace independent thought and an all too convenient wall to hide behind.
    'I sent an email', 'I left a message on your answerphone'. Job done.
    Did I follow it up?
    Why should I, followed procedure.
    If I didn't and made a noise, the Senior Management would have me out of here on report.
    I've covered my back.
    Bad luck about the baby's back.

    This seems to be a Haringay Department and a Government paralysed by 'Procedure', to whit PMQ on Wednesday. Even with Cameron spitting his dummy out, all he got was smug 'procedure' answers.
    Procedure and Process will do nothing to sort this out, just produce another pointless report on 'Procedure and Process' and possibly retire someone on a nice big civil Service Pension.

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  • 11. At 7:44pm on 14 Nov 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    "Nevres Kemal is no longer employed by Haringey and cannot speak about the events because of a court injunction."

    This injunction needs to be lifted IMMEDIATELY.

    By instruction from the Law Lords if that is what is required. How can the 'public interest' be served by Haringey indulging in a cover up?

    Of course, this problem is far more complex than just one or two people, or procedural errors. There may be a dozen or two dozen factors which contributed to the negligence here.

    But if the 'gagging order' remains, all that will happen is some tinkering around the edges.

    What is required is to re-engineer all of the Haringey Social Services from the ground up with a blank sheet of paper, after a full public inquiry with all the facts, to establish the full range of problems which gave rise to this tragedy.

    To use a rather banal analogy, if it were determined that the old 'mini' from the 60s were no longer 'fit for purpose' for today, you would go back to the drawing board. Redesigning an entirely new vehicle which met the modern standards & requirements.

    But I bet what we will get from Government is tinkering with the engine, a bit of extra sound-proofing and carrying on just as before - when a 'bottom up' re-design on a blank sheet of paper is what's required.

    We don't need 'scapegoats', we need the people who were there to tell us what has gone wrong, and if some of those no longer have a future in the organisation so be it.

    But the 'shooting of the messenger' is an absolutely disgraceful scandal of which they should be completely ashamed.

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  • 12. At 7:46pm on 14 Nov 2008, paanewc wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 13. At 7:57pm on 14 Nov 2008, bloonsfan wrote:

    Judgements may need to be made about this case, but would suggest that each person read the serious case review for themselves and then judge where the failings were. The Social Worker did NOT make 60 visits as stated by many papers; they visited 18 times, they were seen 37 times by health staff and 5 times at home by family action. The link to the three reports are at the bottom of the page.

    http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/news_and_events/latest_news/childa.htm

    I agree that changes need to be made to the system, but Social Workers are generally working with high caseloads in a department that is significantly underfunded. Cameron may talk about Haringey receiving £100 million, but I would not imagine that is just for Social Services, but for the whole of Children's Services, which would include the whole of Education (ie schools, welfare officers etc).

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  • 14. At 8:05pm on 14 Nov 2008, Quokka1912 wrote:

    The death of Baby P is devastatingly sad and should never of happened and it is likely that he was let down by services, however whilst this needs to be investigated it must not be forgotten that the ultimate responsibility must lay with his carers and those who killed him.

    Social Workers will again blamed by press and public, but no one can make informed comments on what was done or not done until a full investigation is carried out.

    What those laying blame should understand is that Social Workers work under increasingly difficult conditions.

    - Social workers now spend approximately 80% of their time in the office completing forms - it is impossible to assess the safety of a child via a computer.

    - Government funding is conditional on the completion of these forms, not on ensuring the safety and welfare of children (you can't measure that on a graph!).

    - Front line social workers have very little power in decision making - if they are concerned about a child they have to write reports, reports get passed to managers, managers take them to panels and panels make decisions. Panels are made up of senior managers who are constantly trying to juggle ever decreasing budgets and it becomes easy to depersonalise a case when you have never met the family.

    - many experienced social workers feel unable to work with this constant level of risk and fear that the next Baby P will be from their caseload, so many child protection teams are staffed primarily by newly qualified staff who should be protected from complex child protection cases, not thrown in the deep end.

    - As regards the Social Worker who blew the whistle - maybe she was right in her allegations, but maybe she was a disgruntled employee with an axe to grind - don't judge without the full story.

    Sadly there will be many more like Baby P until the Government prioritises social care and significantly increases funding, resources and support to front line services.

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  • 15. At 8:24pm on 14 Nov 2008, angelicelixa wrote:

    I really disagree with what Mark Easton is saying about this turning into someone to blame. As freddieandtom pointed out above, this is not about having somebody to blame, this is about allowing people, who are totally incompetent, to continue being in the position of ensuring the safety of children, when they are clearly incapable of doing so. It is unbelievable to think the people involved in this case are not facing the sack for such huge failings, and disturbing to think that they will continue to be responsible for the safety of other vulnerable children.

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  • 16. At 8:47pm on 14 Nov 2008, Quokka1912 wrote:

    I'd like to see how angelicelixa and co would cope with a few days in a front line child protection team - it's very easy to cast stones from the comfort of your armchair!

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  • 17. At 8:55pm on 14 Nov 2008, flyingemilystrange wrote:

    I work for the NHS and am told constantly that we work in a 'no blame' culture. That is frankly rubbish! No blame means No accountability.
    So my answer is..''stand before a judge at an inquest and tell him that''.

    This 'no blame' culture permeates through Social Services and every allied body to do with health and family wellbeing.

    No blame didn't work for the torturers of this blameless child..its time all professionals took responsibility for their actions and more importantly their inactions.














































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  • 18. At 9:18pm on 14 Nov 2008, bristolpimpernel wrote:

    His Mother, her boyfriend and the Lodger are to blame for his torture and death.

    The Social Workers, Doctors, Police and other professionals who came into contact with him are to blame for failing to perform their duties correctly and as a consequence allowing this boy to be murdered.

    His Father is to blame for not keeping a close enough eye on his son.

    The Politicians who were warned are to blame for not taking that warning seriously enoough.

    We are to blame for allowing our country to get into such a state.

    God help us, and rest in peace little man.

    And if any of you are in doubt about the state of our country then think on this, we can not even use his real name.

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  • 19. At 9:23pm on 14 Nov 2008, timbo56 wrote:

    How robust is OFSTED they are there to ensure appropriate standards and gave Haringey a clean bill of health. this no doubt was based on a paper exercise. It is time that these organistions who are there to represent customers and the public did so

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  • 20. At 9:27pm on 14 Nov 2008, charrman wrote:

    Until someone, somewhere accepts some responsibility instead of fudging the issue - after all, this is what they are paid for - things can only get worse1
    What do they have to do - or not do - before
    we see some action being taken?

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  • 21. At 9:41pm on 14 Nov 2008, Infury8r wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 9:54pm on 14 Nov 2008, mojo7259 wrote:

    When Gordon Brown said he would do all in his power to make sure this situation didn't happen again why wasn't he asked why hadn't his ministerial colleagues done all in their power last year when the they received the letter about the situation in Haringay?

    Also is this government so dysfunctional that nobody briefed Ministers that the letter of complaint had been written over a year ago about the state of child care in Haringay?

    Or were they hoping that it wouldn't get out and they were doing their usual of being economical with the truth?

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  • 23. At 10:25pm on 14 Nov 2008, Brian wrote:

    I share in the general concern about this child and express great sympathy for those who have lost a young life. However ....... what concerns me even more just now when it is too late to grieve is the desire that is now rampant to find a scapegoat and to attach blame. I have had experience of Haringey Council and its politics and am no great advocate of its services. But Social Workers are everywhere attacked, everywhere presented with impossible demands and dilemmas and expected to cope with low wages, foreign agency staff, budget limits and vacancies. Managers express more concern over the bottom line than about children, because the service is at risk of closure. In Westminster this hopeless situation is compounded by some politicians who spend all of their lives attacking Social Workers and trying to undermine their work and then, when it brings political capital present themselves as persons concerned for the well-being of the disadvantaged. These are people who attend private schools and send their children to them also, who buy every advantage for themselves, and do their darndest to deny a decent life to others, especially to the poor and inadequate. Cameron, for example, would care NOTHING about this situation were it not a stick to beat Labour with and, were we misguided enough to elect him, would set about dismantling the already inadequate procedures that offer any safeguard to such children. After all, as a famous Tory lady once told us, there is no such thing as society, is there?

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  • 24. At 10:43pm on 14 Nov 2008, dvlpmnt27755 wrote:

    I appreciate the moderate tone of the article Mark but really this is just a skim over the surface of this deeply troubling issue.

    The hysterical outrage expressed in the media and public life aimed at the borough of Haringay and it's employees, betrays a almost total ignorance of the appalling conditions that most practising social workers have to endure on a daily basis.

    The type of anger expressed in these posts, is a daily occurrence for most social workers, dealing with the worst problems of a decaying culture of which the general populace are largely happy to ignore.

    The profession is an easy scapegoat, it is dealing with some the most taxing and complex issues that can be addressed on an individual and social level.

    Why is the outrage not directed at the Doctor who missed the broken back the or the NHS/PCT who employ the Health visitor?
    The media sets up the soft targets with the public directing the bullets.

    When awoken abruptly from their moral slumber by a shocking event such as the death of baby, public sentiment wants to blame and execute those at fault so they can happily go back to sleep. Whilst if there is wilful malpractice, sanctions should be handed out, however the murderers should bear ultimate responsibility for their despicable actions and anger should therefore be appropriately directed at the perpetrators.

    How many of those screaming for the heads of social services etc are questioning why the many, many, many expensive enquiries, into social welfare outrages such as Maria Colwell, Pin Down, Cleveland, the Orkneys, North Wales Child Abuse enquiry and Victoria Climbie etc etc which all produced broadly similar recommendations have only resulted marginal improvements across the sector?

    Despite the outrage, the reality is there is not the political, social and moral will to prevent this tragedy from happening again. How many of the outraged; donate their time to assist the homeless, the weak the obnoxious, the vulnerable the hoodies druggies and the rest to improve the lives of the needy?

    If they did so, they at leastwould be privileged with knowledge and understanding of the issues and the anger would be informed, rather than ignorant blind rage.

    How many after the outraged lobby their councils to examine the resources and the conditions as well as the performance the practice and quality of their local social work teams?

    Forgive the cynicism; once the powerful sentiments have ebbed away, the enquiries have had their day, another report will be partially implemented by the better local authorities, little will change and the public will return to their passivity and moral numbness happily oblivious until the next innocent victim provokes a similar reaction.

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  • 25. At 10:49pm on 14 Nov 2008, anneniven wrote:

    i think bristolpimpernel nailed it - it is a nonsense that these people's identities are protected; does anyone out there understand why, especially now they have been convicted? hopefully other inmates will make their time in prison a living hell - but it won't be for long enough.

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  • 26. At 10:50pm on 14 Nov 2008, TallyHo wrote:

    Not content with failing Baby P (and going on an Ascot jolly just weeks after his death), these same social workers fought for the right of this woman (I cannot call her a 'mother') to bond with her new baby born in Holloway jail while she was on remand, against police advice. Six months after his birth the new baby has been fostered...

    Are these so-called child experts/social workers completely insane?

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  • 27. At 11:00pm on 14 Nov 2008, treefernkate wrote:

    Whilst everyone now puts all their effort into working out 'what went wrong', other children are still suffering just like this. It seems to me that whilst taking a child into the 'care' of the local authority remains such an appalling and life-destroying option, social workers will always do their best to keep families intact, and err on the side of leaving a child with his mother.

    The core problem though is the extraordinarily stupefying effects upon some women of falling in love. Is there any way to change that, or are we doomed every few years to a Hindley, or a West or a case like this, where a woman has done evil because she's fallen in love with an evil man whose barbarity she's too besotted to reject? Because don't forget, Baby P's mother had older children that she'd raised successfully and not abused.

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  • 28. At 11:03pm on 14 Nov 2008, lilyanawhite wrote:

    The author's article contains an absurd argument. People are paid to take responsibility, ie to notice, to report and record. Obviously, the whole chain of command and responsibility was a disaster (lazy, incomptent people, people who looked the other way, indifferent to problems) and a child died a horrible death.
    If the whole chain of command is not examined and All the culpable people fired or transferred it will happen again! If this is not done and at best an apology given then it is nonesense...an apology does not bring a child back to life or prevent this kind of horrendous suffering.
    Don't blame people? What an idiotic and self serving argument. I read all this with disgust and thanked God, I do not live in England and others also will think so.

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  • 29. At 11:09pm on 14 Nov 2008, braveheart-10 wrote:

    This is Climbie all over again. The executive summary of the failings in this case are a mirror of the failings identified in the Laming report.

    A public inquiry is required this is the case to find out why previous recommendations were never followed. Senior management must be hed to account. Will Haringey never learn?

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  • 30. At 11:10pm on 14 Nov 2008, himmelsta wrote:

    Since day 1 I have asked myself: Where are the police? Just because the taxpayer is taking care of the paycheck should not mean that the council and it's employee's are without responibility to the murder of an innocent child.

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  • 31. At 00:23am on 15 Nov 2008, tsmith1621 wrote:

    I don't know where to begin with the case of Baby P as I'm sure most of you don't, his father is now saying he loved to see his son, WHAT did he not see what was going on!! Lets see what the newspapers this weekend bring!!

    I and my siblings were systematically abused by my father and my mother sat by and watched, members of our family knew what was happening but nothing was done (I'm talking the late 60's, 70's and very early 80's before we all escaped!!) there were no agencies really dedicated to child care then (our father was Military also).

    I don't know how I feel about heads rolling, somebody I feel should take responsibility for the tragic death of Baby P (which should have been avoided!!) and I don't think it should be a Social Worker, they are slaves to the Government and their figures & form filling to score points against each other (I worked for the Public Sector for 7 years before I got sick of it, it's all about numbers/form filling and each party having a pop at each other, never about what it important, our children!!)

    All I can say is that Baby P's case has prompted a huge debate in this country, why has his mother and the others involved had their sentences reduced to manslaughter, what a farce our judicial system is, with these slick lawyers (again point scoring against each other) .

    As far as I am concerned this poor little baby has died a needless death at the hands of sadistic, well I don't know what to call them because they can't be human beings and they will go to jail, with their 3 meals a day and their human rights protected. The law is an ass!!

    Baby P rest in peace xxx

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  • 32. At 00:43am on 15 Nov 2008, B Garnsey wrote:

    Re "falling between the cracks as the commission handed over to OFSTED."

    Has anyone thought to ask if the civil servants transferred en bloc under TUPE ?
    As with most government organisations the office name changes the same staff carry on and get a pay rise.

    If so who signed of on this case and are they still in the same role ?

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  • 33. At 01:19am on 15 Nov 2008, John Quinlan wrote:

    If this follows the path of all the other mistakes of "New Labour" Expect some lowly minion to be a scapegoat, the management and the Government will release statements saying that "lessons have been learned" and carry on drawing their huge undeserved salaries. Not to mention the cash that will be spent on spin and covering up the outrage rightly felt by the whole country.

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  • 34. At 02:25am on 15 Nov 2008, David wrote:

    Errrrrr..........what about the rest of baby P's relatives?

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  • 35. At 02:47am on 15 Nov 2008, whitlaner wrote:

    Welcome to little Britain,a country run by,politicians ,who appoint a collossal army of vastly overpaid civil servants,who appoint even more of thier friends,and so on,and so on.All of whom DO ONLY WHAT THEY HAVE TO AND NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD DO.I really fear for this country.

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  • 36. At 10:13am on 15 Nov 2008, stalisman wrote:

    Althiugh #16 has a point that life is hard the imperative is to save life in all walks of life, especially when you have a chance to affect the outcome.

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  • 37. At 11:45am on 15 Nov 2008, pete_l wrote:

    If senior managers at the beeb consider it's necessary to resign (or were pushed out, it makes no difference) over a silly incident about two purile presenters, then having someone die, who you were ultimately responsible for, needs a much more emphatic action.
    In this case, resignation of _all_ those involved should be a given. We should not have to ask which single individual was to blame - anyone with any honour would've left of their only volition, in shame and with their head (rightly) hung low.
    The fact that they are all able to pass the buck, and that none of them seem to think they carry any fault is just wrong. It shows that social services needs to be completely reformed. Personally I think there should be some long jail sentences handed out here.

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  • 38. At 12:37pm on 15 Nov 2008, johnilmalin1 wrote:

    The problem is no matter how much the social workers wants something done it has to be sanctioned by a manager if he/she wants an easy time they will not sanction,
    The other problem is case loads individual social workers have too high case loads that restrict their time with each family some families are agreesive to wards the workers and intimidate them, the other problem is the shortage of social workers for childrens and families authorities are not able to recruit enough because childrens and families has become a poison chalace because of things like this no one wants the job as they do not want disasters on their watch, and of course funding is the other problem authorities and governments want thing done on the cheap with disasterous happenings like this Health and Social care suffer the same. and so do the Armed Forces. untill proper funding and support for the front line social workers is improved there will always be a case like this wether children elderly or members of the armed forces ect

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  • 39. At 2:13pm on 15 Nov 2008, treefernkate wrote:

    Would anyone who supports the 'sack the social workers' line, and who thinks it is easy to tell when a small child is being abused, like to explain to me the difference between a bruise caused by abuse, and a bruise caused by the child himself head-butting furniture, as this child was observed to do? The missing part of the jigsaw for social workers is that the woman wasn't living alone with her children, despite her assurances. If they'd known that fact they would've been far more likely to guess the bruises were from abuse. So how can we ensure that health workers aren't hoodwinked like this? I can see many people up-in-arms about the infringement of liberties and if CCTV was trained on the homes of children at-risk, or if social workers had the power to search the home of any parent at any time!

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  • 40. At 2:26pm on 15 Nov 2008, outcast1 wrote:

    its up to the parents to care for the children, their is a lot of help for familys if needed, people may think the Social Services dont do there job but it depends who they ask and who they get to help them..wot is it everyone blame each other for the death of that poor child when the parents need the help so they cannot have any more children. punish the parents wot they done was wrong.....

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  • 41. At 4:09pm on 15 Nov 2008, pupprabhu wrote:

    As a consultant Paediatrician for nearly 15 years and having done Child Protection during that time, I sincerely hope we all will learn lessons from this sad story of baby P. We all owe it to him to make sure that no other child suffers like this.
    There any many questions which need answers.
    Why was he left with the parents?
    Was it the right decision at the time when the decision was made? With hindsight anyone can be clever but it is important to see if it was the right decision with the information which was available when the decision was made.
    Why when there were so many visits the imminent danger was not picked up?
    Was the child examined during all these visits or was he seen from a distance?
    Was the child growing well and was he developing well?
    Was he examined by any expert during any of these visits? If not why not? If he was examined then why the risk of imminent murder was not recognised?
    At the end of the day there must be clear protocols to examine all children who are on at risk register and still with parents.
    Of course parents must also be supported and helped to look after the child.

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  • 42. At 7:48pm on 15 Nov 2008, Sylviassister wrote:

    Just at what point did the shared values and responsibilities that I grew up with fade away? Social workers do a difficult job but to leave a child who was obviously at risk - if we are to believe the information that continues to emerge about this mother and the men who lived with her - defies belief. There are many people in this country who would love to adopt and care for a child such as Baby P. Why was his safety and well being not put first above that of this ghastly and vicious menage referred to as his "carers"? However many times this child had been visited - whether it be six or sixty - it must surely have been obvious that something was not right. Why is their no shame expressed by those professionals who failed so badly? The constant whining of "it's not my fault" cheapens society and is obviously part of the culture at Harringay. How much confidence can the people of Harringay who need social workers have in these inept and self serving incompetents who know how to fill in a form but not how to protect a child in their care?

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  • 43. At 8:10pm on 15 Nov 2008, Morty wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 44. At 01:48am on 16 Nov 2008, goldkatetheskate wrote:

    in reply to dvlpmnt. I complained about a social worker and she was quite rightly dissmissed for gross misconduct by the agency she was working for. Since then she has managed to obtain 2 jobs back in social services. The latter job is in the child protection team of my local authority. I and other foster carers have informed the local authority of her past history but she remains in her post. How well was her refrences checked, if checked at all. Lets hope another young life is not lost because of there incompancies because I for 1 will be shouting and screaming from roof tops asking why, along with all the other carers that have written to the local authority allerting them to this dangerous social worker. What did come out of complaining was the knowledge that ss close ranks. And that there complaints procedure is so long and drawn out, and at the end of the day they never admit responsibility for anything. But in there defence the workload that each social worker has is huge and they are bound to make errors, so lets hope its not the cause of any more deaths.

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  • 45. At 03:39am on 16 Nov 2008, newsnotcelebrity wrote:

    Fair points 14 and 24; social work is an often difficult, stressful occupation - so is being part of an ambulance crew and the police would also relate to your experience of appaling situations - and at times like this no-one focuses on all the children whose lives have been saved by staff who have followed the correct procedures.

    Perhaps though, if enough outcry is made, the shortcomings you both highlight will come under scrutiny. Is it enough to say that departments are badly staffed, staff are poorly trained, or that preventative measures and good intentions are hamstrung by ineffectual bureaucracy? Surely that’s a cast iron case to investigate and search FOR accountability?

    The issue is not about those who work in child protection services as a whole, but how a baby seen over SIXTY times by a particular protective agency still died an horrific, unnecessary death. If you read the Haringay report on the case, you’ll find that Baby P’s mother was described as ‘co-operative’ and that her relationship with the social workers was seen as generally ‘positive’.

    On average 50 children under the age of 5 are killed each year by parents/carers. This is a war that will never be won outright, but in the cases where opportunities arising to prevent such outcomes get ignored, then it isn't wrong to look for accountability, wherever it lies.

    P's death, like Victoria Climbie was the result of an astonishing catalogue of incompetence and error from several agencies that, for the sake of all future Baby P’s deserves a thorough investigation.

    It isn’t just a case of ‘throwing stones’ or scapegoating. If those involved are made to answer fully for their actions, rather than paid off or sidelined to other departments, then perhaps people will be less inclined to repeat them.



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  • 46. At 07:30am on 16 Nov 2008, John1948 wrote:

    Imagine that a big hole forms in the dual carriageway between Bristol and Bath. Do the Council repair it as quickly as possible, or do they wait until they have found someone to blame and then repair it? Obviously this is an oversimplification of what is happening about Baby P.

    I do not know what happened and am not about make judgements on selected bits of information released to the press. But what I am concerned about is the actions of the local council since the death. Enquiries could and should have been made straight away. The findings could have been kept confidential so as not to interfere with the court case.

    Firstly, if I had been running the department, I would have wanted to know what happened. Something went wrong; perhaps existing procedures were not robust enough; perhaps the staff were hopelessly over worked; perhaps in an effort to give all ‘experts’ a voice, the chain of command was not clear. I would hope I would have a pretty good idea of the things that had gone wrong and have plans (implementing them if possible) within a month in order to make sure other children were not at risk. I would have had my findings ready for publication.

    Now, I thought that the idea of local councils was that there were elected councillors who oversaw the work of the council departments. If I were a councillor I would want to know why a child on the at risk register had been murdered. I would have asked the director of children’s services for an explanation. I might even have asked for the national body to carry out an investigation. Coming from the Local Council it would not have been simply a cosy chat. Again the Councillor’s action would have been publicly available asap.

    If the law does not allow for these actions to take place until the court case is finished, then the law is putting lives at risk and should be changed. If enquiries were permitted then the officials and councillors were failing in their duty. Note I am talking about councillors as individuals and am not making a party political point.

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  • 47. At 10:27am on 16 Nov 2008, wildmummyboo wrote:

    The immediate blame is of course directed at the 3 people who were found guilty. They all caused this poor little boys death.

    Saying that the Social Workers, Health Visitors, Doctors and Police (although if I understand correctly the Police advised against Baby P being returned, i also cannot call her a mother) all have to shoulder some of the blame.

    The childminder repeatedly voiced her concerns. They were ignored.

    Why did the Doctor not do a proper exam? A miserable cranky child was a warning for abuse when I trained as a nurse!

    Reading about the flat environment, words fail me. Having worked in peoples own homes, you get a sense on what is happening, where was theirs?

    Looking at the last photo published....how could the they have all missed what was going on?

    The "Professionals" all had a duty of care and they failed. It was their job, what they were trained to do and what they were paid to do. That is why they are all to blame.

    Are we all to blame? Have we all seen or heard things that we should have questioned? I not just talking about abuse but as a country are becoming, it's someone else's problem so I can carry on with my life, thank you. I have no answers but seem to have more questions every day.



    Sleep well little man and safe from the people who did not deserve you and I am sorry that we all failed you. xxxx.

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  • 48. At 10:31am on 16 Nov 2008, fishwagon wrote:

    I'm 57 with three grown-up children and this is the first time I've ever cried at a news story. The tragedy of Baby P is possibly the worst case of its kind that we have yet seen.

    We talk - again - about lessons to be learned. For me, the obvious first lesson is that Lord Laming's adopted recommendations, however well-intentioned, are not working.

    He should not be leading a review into his own system.

    I've never worked in Social Services but, from reading many of the excellent posts here, it strikes me that they are far too bureaucratic. Social workers surely should be out in the field for the majority of their time, equipped with good communication facilities to their managers, with evidence recorded on mobile devices and with minimal visits to the office. I also have my doubts that an individual who has not had children of their own can really assess a family situation and make a judgement. Maybe that can be trained into a person but I'm not sure.

    Social workers need to be more strident, forthright and confident in making judgements and they need to be given the powers to issue on-the-spot warnings to parents and to call in police or other authorities to remove children immediately should they deem it necessary. In the end it is the child that matters most, not the sensibilities of the parent.

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  • 49. At 1:26pm on 16 Nov 2008, PhDsmc wrote:

    I feel sick everytime I read about this poor little child. At least he is free from pain now. At least the monsters who were supposed to care for and love him cannot hurt him anymore. I know it is wrong to hope but please let someone in prison give them a taste of what Baby P endured.
    I also think we should be given this little childs name so people know who his supposed parent are and know to avoid these evil people. They will be free in a few years time and who will stop them having more children. Who will look after these kids NOT social services!!!!!

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  • 50. At 1:27pm on 16 Nov 2008, alexis71 wrote:

    I wouldnt treat my dog the way Baby P was treated nor would the relevant animal protection personnel let such abuse slip through their fingers we pay enough council tax to ensure the most vunerable people in the counrty are protected. Haringay has blood on their hands. All the Drs, head of services should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this poor little boy live his short life with so much fear, terror and abuse. If there is a demonstration happening be sure i will be there. And why should the evil parents of this child have their names with-held for legal reasons. Name and shame and life for life is say

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  • 51. At 2:37pm on 16 Nov 2008, tykejohnno wrote:

    I just want to say a big thank you to mr Cameron for keeping the baby p story going in last weeks PM question time,the case of baby p would have been a internal investigation,now we have some one brought in.The story of baby p was already going down the headline news last wednesday until mr camerons intervention.

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  • 52. At 5:00pm on 16 Nov 2008, ismah_k wrote:

    i think the social worker are to blame hoe could they does this can thing a small cute child i the goverment doesnot take an action any then we don't know how many morechildern will die

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  • 53. At 8:12pm on 16 Nov 2008, misssagitarian wrote:

    I agree with the comments made by WorldwarIV and Bristolpimpernel.

    There is no excuse anywhere in the world for an adult person to abuse a vulnerable defenceless child. There are enough places to go and people to call if a person feels they cannot cope or cannot care for their child. Society would not condemn anyone who tried to do what was in their child’s best interest.

    I believe 'people' (if you can call them that) who commit this type of heinous crime do so because they can and know or believe that if they get caught they will get away with it because the law in this country is so lax.

    In this country if an animal attacks a child it gets put down. The mother, her boyfriend and the lodger are worse.

    I believe if punishments started to fit the crimes (i.e life being life) perhaps these ‘people’ may think twice before they push their luck so far.

    This story, like any story of abuse, has broken my heart and things have got to change.

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  • 54. At 8:13pm on 16 Nov 2008, Redcat08 wrote:

    Many years ago I remember reading a newspaper article about the death of a little girl by the name of Maria Caldwell. I cried whilst reading the article and I also remember the social services and government ministers saying it must never happen again and it will not happen again.
    Well it did and continues to happen again and again. Prison is too easy for these monsters. 14 years sentence is a joke because the mother will not serve the full term. Shame on the Social Services who knew the danger this poor little boy was in. They failed him. How many more children will be tortured, maimed and killed by inhuman acts by their parents or their partners before the social services will step in and remove the child from danger. Shame on us all for allowing these acts to keep happening

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  • 55. At 8:32pm on 16 Nov 2008, benjiandtom wrote:

    I can understand the frustration and anger of the general public toward this case, but it is easy to critisize when the subject is as emotive as this. Having once worked as an officer for Social Services I can attest to the miles of red tape when it comes to raising an issue of protection.
    The trouble stems from the 80's and early 90's when Social Services removed children from many parental homes, including the Scottish highlands, believing Devil-worshipping 'cults' were abusing children. This turned out not to be true and the backlash from parliament and the public meant that Social Services were 'restrained' as it were, to prevent this from ever happening again.
    I understand the frustration, also, of the social workers involved. When a report of abuse is filed it has to be looked at by senior officers before being investigated. Only then is it passed to the Child Protection team, who then have to collate information before being able to act upon it. This is simplifying what is a long procedural battle to get the case investigated. The social workers on the 'front line' have little to do with, and little say about the case once it has been passed on.
    As a mum, I find this case heinous in the extreme. Somebody has to be brave enough to convince parliament to scrap the stupid bloody rules that are currently in place and put the childs safety and wellbeing first. Parents who willfully neglect and treat their children with cruelty should have no rights at all, and no place in a decent society.
    As for blame = yes the social services in this case should be hauled over the coals and the people who didn't do enough to protect this beautiful, innocent boy should lose their jobs - as a warning to others that ineptness and ignorance will not be tolerated. This does not mean that cases like this one will never happen again, but hopefully social workers will be taught to look for signs and will be given the power to remove children truly at risk.
    The only people who are truly to blame are the 3 who tortured this little boy to death.
    Instead of creating a witch hunt (as the Sun newspaper has done) perhaps we should be lobbying parliament for a change in the law. Only then will things truly change.

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  • 56. At 01:24am on 17 Nov 2008, PommieGranite1954 wrote:

    As the father of a 14 month old daughter, I share the horror that everyone has expressed in the preceding posts. I would like to comment on a few observations, though...
    1 I am appalled at the number of people who seem to have a "Lynch Mob" mentality who have decided that they know who is to blame without the need for an investigation / enquiry.
    2 If we funded social services to the point where they were not overstretched or understaffed, perhaps these tragedies would not happen. I have read posts from no-one who has offered to put his / her hands in their pockets to make sure this never happens again. How many would vote for a councillor standing on a policy of increasing local taxation to cover the costs of a good service?
    3 Whereas the outrage that any adult could carry out such acts on a baby - especially (as I heard it suggested in a different case recently) because the child was "inconvenient" or "got in the way" is easily justified perhaps people could reflect on the deaths of thousands of unborn babies because they are "incovenient" for their parents. Our own laws, passed by our own elected politicians and ratified in our own Parliament with our consent is responsible for up to 250,000 abortions. At which point does outrage begin?

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  • 57. At 08:19am on 17 Nov 2008, diversion wrote:

    There should be a wholesale clear out of personnel in Haringey's Social Services. They are clearly incompetent and need to find work that does not involve making decisions.

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  • 58. At 09:29am on 17 Nov 2008, heartandtruth wrote:

    The truth is that social workers and social services are damned if they do and damned if they don't. There is a witch hunt going on here. Social workers are subject to all kinds of constraints that stop quick action. There many checks an balances in the system that ensure that overzealousness doesn't cause the break up the families of innocent parents. Each case needs serious scrutiny. My experience of social workers is that they are genuinely caring, professional and hard working. They take flack from all sides, especially the irresponsible tabloid press. They didn't kill Baby P. This is one that they failed to save from wicked and murderous parents. They continue however to save and serve many children. Most of us are not in the front line. We enjoy cosy, safe jobs. Before we condemn these overstretched and underpaid public servants perhaps we should ask "What difference have I made in the life of a needy child today?"

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  • 59. At 09:41am on 17 Nov 2008, scarrface wrote:

    Here's an extract from a comment (sorry for the repetition) that I posted on Nick Robinsons blog on 7 November, long before CSCI and OFSTED revealed their complicity in this tragedy:
    "The inspection Gestapo - Audit Commission, CSCI, Ofstead etc. - is populated by people who couldn't get proper jobs elsewhere, and they harangue public sector officials to the point of despair. I'll say it again - billions are tied in recording and monitoring PSA'a, LAA's, MAA's, Use of Resources blah blah blah, and then sending out failed 'policy officers' who can only get a job at the Audit Commission to inspect them. Surely its time for the audit commission to get back in its box and just audit accounts? They'll say that they have driven improvment, because everybody is scoring higher - 4 stars here, 3 stars there. But what's that noise? - public satisfaction is dropping like a stone. Public sector bodies 'need to examine the reasons why publci satisfaction is not high' say the Commission at the end of their reports, after awarding 4 stars for performance. It's bleeding obvious - the whole framework has got Council's, Hospitals, Police etc. DOING THE WRONG THINGS VERY WELL. Sorry for shouting, but its insane! There is absolutely no room for innovation. "
    A bit of a rant I know, but just think about how Haringey have been using this 'three star' smoke screen as a justification for these appalling circumstances. If you read the whistle blowers account of what is happening in Hackney's childrens services in the tabloids at the weekend, its probably a better view of what is going on than a 'joint area review'.
    Councils are rated highly for having the right equalites and diversity policies, talking to hard to reach groups etc. to the point where they can deliver (sorry, "commission" - gah!) appalling services, but still be marked highly because 'the outcomes' are good. Now have a look on the Audit Commission web site to see their damning critique of childrens trusts, the infrastructure put in place after the last Haringey debacle. It was sickening to see the Childrens minister defend this just before the baby P story broke. The distinction between Directors of Childrens Services and their previous role as either Directors of Social Services or Directors of Education blurs - what makes a Director of Education capable of running Childrens social care and vice versa? Were these 61 teachers voicing support for a Director of Childrens Services or a Director of Education?
    The public are largely unaware of all of this nonsense that goes on behind the scenes. People aren't stupid - they can sense the quality of Council services from the way they are delivered. I am afraid that 3 stars for Haringey is, to use a recent quote, lipstick on a pig.
    We are at a stage now where all of the public services are tied up in the bureacratic nightmare of PSA's and inspection regimes, and public frustration at complaining about things only to be told that the service is 4 star is palpable. There will undoubtedly be more fractures like this before the rot stops.

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  • 60. At 10:24am on 17 Nov 2008, poshmong wrote:

    While Britain's social services bear much blame in the case of Baby P, I don't hear a word about his abusers: namely his own mother!! Together with her "boyfriend" she should be exposed with both their photos plastered on the net. The two of them are monsters and deserve to be recognized as such.

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  • 61. At 10:35am on 17 Nov 2008, ajdant wrote:

    Haringey could only be offering a "three-star" social service if the maximum stars achievable was 100.

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  • 62. At 11:30am on 17 Nov 2008, doctor-gloom wrote:

    You might not like it Mark but someone somewhere is to blame for this. My view is that those that run the system of child protection down there were beguiled by the new labour obsession with plans, meetings, pre-planning brain storming sessions and God knows what else, all to the detriment of those needing action to be taken to protect vulnerable children. Their system is rotten to the core and those running it have proved themselves useless. What a shambles. Heads do need to roll even if it's simply to satisfy public outrage.

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  • 63. At 12:19pm on 17 Nov 2008, Shupi wrote:

    If I might say so, the tone of the blog on this issue from Mark Easton is typical of what one gets from the BBC. The "hunt for someone to blame" is couched in pejorative terms, as though the process or desire by the general public to seek out the culprit(s) and apply some form of retribution is somehow beyond the pale in received, liberal circles.

    Isn’t this part of the problem? That we always somehow try and see the other person’s viewpoint, no-one is held accountable for their actions any more (least of all our elected representatives), there is always the fall-back position that someone comes from “deprived” areas, or has lived in “challenging” circumstances which excuses their behaviour.

    My view is that we are living in a society without appropriate barriers or norms. The BBC, which is so powerful in influencing policy, constantly hectors us about our rights without any emphasis being placed on responsibilities.

    Attitudes and modes of behaviour that would have been utterly repellent even twenty years ago are never condemned. The BBC seems in thrall to metropolitan liberal opinion and is terrified of being seen as judgmental. In this way, the majority of the British public (not those living in media-land in London) are short-changed and I believe are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry.

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  • 64. At 12:35pm on 17 Nov 2008, cymanswife wrote:

    I agree with the person who said that the injunction should now be lifted so that Nevres Kemal can speak out.

    Mark Easton is wrong to say that looking for someone to blame is just seeking vengeance. It is just ensuring that an incompetent person does not continue in their job. Any other organisation would do likewise when something as unimportant as a clerical error was at stake let alone a child's life. SURELY you only have to look at the two photos of Baby P to realise that he was being abused, he changed from a healthy looking sweet boy to a bruised child with shorn hair and a clearly troubled expression. Why was common sense as well as these people's supposed professionalism used? And why were the few professionals who called for him to be put into care not listened to?

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  • 65. At 12:46pm on 17 Nov 2008, treefernkate wrote:

    "SURELY you only have to look at the two photos of Baby P to realise that he was being abused, he changed from a healthy looking sweet boy to a bruised child with shorn hair and a clearly troubled expression."

    But he was abused from when he was nine months old, if not before. So in _all_ those photos you're looking at an abused child. Not so easy to tell as one might like to think?

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  • 66. At 1:49pm on 17 Nov 2008, digital106dl wrote:

    So nobody was to blame as decisions were made collectively at a core meeting. What a cop out.
    There should be a notice placed in all council offices stateing "Don't forget the Abiline Paradox". I know, I had never heard of it either until I went to the USA: but this is when a group of people come to a decision that no single person would have made by themselves, because they didn't want to be out of step with what they thought other people were thinking.

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  • 67. At 2:08pm on 17 Nov 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:
    There is enough blame to go around and around...


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  • 68. At 2:09pm on 17 Nov 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Baby P:
    maybe the stone that maybe the trigger to repair some of society problems!

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  • 69. At 3:47pm on 17 Nov 2008, bloomsville wrote:

    How many times does a child in danger have to be seen before anything can be done - is 60 times the norm? Obviously not in this case so what is the answer - how many times? There is no answer because each case is different, so what is the benchmark or the dividing line between danger and danger? There are too many questions attached to this case and cases like it that the public think they should know the answers to. I would add how should this case have been reported by the media?

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  • 70. At 10:13pm on 17 Nov 2008, othernanny wrote:

    I cannot bring myself to comment on the part Social Services played in the death of this defenseless child. Bu I would like the BBC to put out a programme going back 10 or 15 years and play the statements made both by Social Services and other agencies. and see how many of them say at the end of their statements "We must ensure that this never happens again"
    Then let them tell us they did all they could,and that "Good Work" was done in this case

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  • 71. At 10:32pm on 17 Nov 2008, othernanny wrote:

    If an animal had been treated in this way,all hell would break loose, and quite rightly so,but when oh when did children become less important than animals?

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  • 72. At 00:03am on 18 Nov 2008, carelisa wrote:

    The case of Baby P is something that I cannot stop thinking about. Having watched Panorama this evening I feel even more saddened seeeing this beautiful little childs resting place. I really believe that we need to think about creating some kind of group to create a little garden around the area where this little boys ashes have been scattered, I would not hesitate at giving some money to help provide some kind of head stone, anything at all. I could write so much more ie. make my feelings known how I feel about the satanist Mother etc, but I do not even have the words to express my anger towards all involved in the death of this little innocent child. My husband and I are doing everything in our power to try to have just one baby to love and care for, the whole case breaks my heart. God bless you Baby Blue Eyes - may you forever rest in perfect peace. XXXX

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  • 73. At 00:31am on 18 Nov 2008, Montanan wrote:

    I don't live in Britain, but I am struck by the similarities in the bureaucratic cookbook approach to justice and Social Services in both Britain and the States.

    "Children are best served to stay with their families whenever it is possible," is only true if their parents honestly have the child's best interest at heart.

    Narcissistic people do not make good parents. Any mother who is more interested in maintaining a good relationship with her boyfriend or husband has a high probability of being a danger to her children physically or emotionally.

    Some people simply don't make good parents and I believe that case workers need the skills and the ability to make that assessment before deciding anything about the placement of a child be it home with their family or into care.

    I think we need to get back to common sense in dealing with families and children. Don't take them away over silly disputes over bedrooms, neither leave them with parents who don't make their children's welfare their highest priority.

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  • 74. At 09:44am on 18 Nov 2008, misssagitarian wrote:

    After reading the comment from carelisa (72), you can count me in if you do decide to put together a group.

    I too tried for ages for a child and finally was blessed with one.

    Everytime I look over this case I start to cry over and over again and will never understand the mentality of these 'animals' or anyone who commits such crimes. I keep hoping and hoping the judicial system will say enough is enough and sentence them appropriately and won't factor in any argument that they 'were not in control of their actions' or 'they didn't think what they were doing would lead to the death of the child' etc., or the best one being ' it weren't me miss - it was him!'

    These type of people cannot be re-educated or reasoned with and society should just get rid of them. I know this sounds harsh but I don’t think these ‘people’ realise or care about the fact that – speaking just for me – how hurt I feel, how I wish there was something I could have done to save this little boy and how it’s gonna take a long time for me to stop feeling sick about how this could have happened.

    I hope that after this, when they say this must not happen again, then it DOESN'T

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  • 75. At 10:26am on 18 Nov 2008, icegillan wrote:

    If this was a Tory run council then there would be a full public enquiry with the judge allowed to imprison anyone for not taking part or refusing to give evidence, this is simply another Labour party cover up.

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  • 76. At 1:43pm on 18 Nov 2008, michbranny wrote:

    Whilst I undoubtedly agree with many of you that the council involved have not acted responsibly or with any sensitivity, shouldnt we rather be questioning the appaling state of our justice system? The fact is a 17 month old was killed by 3 adults. It is absoloutely horrifc to think people such as these are able to have children and allow them to be tortured and abused in this way. From what I understand, we will be lucky if they receive a 5 yr sentence..why oh why? Surely this punishment is not reflective of what they have done? It makes me so ashamed of this country that as well as the stabbings, gang problems etc that we seem to be encountering, we have to contend with this which unless we put a stop to it now, many other so called adults/parents will continue to abuse their children in this manner.

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  • 77. At 2:22pm on 18 Nov 2008, lynn31 wrote:

    i am deeply shocked by what happened to this poor child. however the blame lies first and foremost with those in court this week.
    i am disgusted that the social services department have come in for so much over this. i have worked for councils and every department in every council across the country is stretched to the point that people doing the work on the ground are having nervous breakdowns on an almost weekly basis due to the unreasonable workload and scant resources. added to this the amount of beauracracy, i am frankly surprised that there have not been more cases that have slipped under the radar.
    the problem lies in the fact that the councillors will not increase council tax any more than the bare minimum in a hope of re-election. This then filters down to all of the departments and manifests itself in skeleton resources and over pressured staff. It is their vanity and spineless self preservation that has lead to this child being failed by the social services department but the fall guy will be the very people who were trying to do something for the child rather than themselves.
    it is about time the councillors took responsibility for what they are doing to local services. we might not like higher taxes but i think everyone of us aknowledge that there is a price to pay for good well funded services.
    the alternative is just not worth contemplating

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  • 78. At 2:37pm on 18 Nov 2008, michbranny wrote:

    look whilst I unlike no 77 have worked in councils, we certainly do not want to be paying higher taxes than we already do in rip off britain! Im sorry but this is more about the British politeness, worrying to offend and say something to these "breeds" of people for fear of repurcussions. In this case, I cannot believe bruises and a withdrawn character went unnoticed - how about the appauling conditions they lives in? - social workers are trained to look out for these signs arent they? Yes bruises were covered up but a BROKEN back, a little boy walking awkwardly - NO EXCUSES.

    RIP baby P, you are in a much better place now

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  • 79. At 5:37pm on 18 Nov 2008, msLaura86 wrote:

    Some people would give anything to have a child too love and cherish and you have these sickos!!! How can people be so incompotent?
    Where were the rest of his family?
    where was the poor babys father?
    More should be done right now to ensure there is no more of this incompotence there is probably a thousand children that need saving and safe loving homes!!!

    I saw baby Ps home on the news i wouldnt of raised a puppy in that let alone a child surely social services could of worked out what was happening people need to open there eyes to this!!!! Social services let that poor baby down and so did medical proffesionals and most of all the woman who brought him into the world whos main concern should of been to love him and protect him. The one person who should have been there for him. All three of them are animals how anyone could harm a innocent child is sickening.

    The mother and her partner and lodger should burn in hell for what they have done.

    Rest in peace sweet sweet beautifull baby p
    xxxx

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  • 80. At 6:57pm on 18 Nov 2008, robeck1 wrote:

    That poor, gorgeous little boy died and his torturers and killers can go unidentified. Why? If they were big enough to torture and kill an innocent little boy then they are big enough to face the public. Why should they be protected when nobody protected this little boy? It's incredible that we spend millions of tax payers money in this country on "child protection services" and the protection of these evil individuals and the people who get paid incredible salaries are not held accountable for their incompetance. Every person who was responsible (after all that is the reason they are paid such salaries) for deciding to return that little boy to his torturers should be sacked, without any big pay offs. If they don't want the responsibilities that their job entails, then don't apply for the job. It's incredible that Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand have had such punishment metered out to them for their actions yet nobody is accountable for this.

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  • 81. At 8:48pm on 18 Nov 2008, IAWT wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 4:48pm on 19 Nov 2008, Nickgreen66 wrote:

    This is one of the most tragic and heart rendering stories that I have ever come across. Baby P was the victim of the most brutal torture, the torment he suffered is beyond words and by any kind of comprehension. The Social Services and most involved in the so called protection of Baby P were utterly incompetent and the level of that incompetence amounts to utter neglect. There were numerous opportunies to save Baby P from the physical torture and emotional torture of being unloved. Those responsible and who had the power to do something chose not to, even though there was every indication he was being abused. How many times can we say never again can this happen, but it does again and again. There has to be blame and this can never happen again, there has to be severe consequences not only as retribution but also as a strong message to those that have the privelage of having the responsibility and power to protect our children from harm.

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  • 83. At 9:02pm on 19 Nov 2008, sensibleBiggles wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 84. At 11:11pm on 19 Nov 2008, donnyhcsm wrote:


    Just wanted to add that the kind of abuse that Happended to Baby P in London is not just happening in London, or though you would think that from the News . Below an extract from The Dioncaster Free Press that is a similar case THE father of a baby who was starved and injured before her spine was fatally snapped in two, has been found guilty of her murder.
    XXX was pronounced dead in the morning of December 23 after suffering a broken spine but she was also starved, bruised, covered in pressure sores and had injuries to all four of her limbs which had been sustained in the four to eight weeks leading up to her "exceedingly painful death", prosecutors said.
    A jury at Leeds Crown Court found XXX guilty of murder and child cruelty.
    Naturally this did not make the National Headlines!!!. Not quite fair- She deserved better

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  • 85. At 01:17am on 20 Nov 2008, Joanne338 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 86. At 2:53pm on 21 Nov 2008, Cazzie01 wrote:

    I have a question, Who is really to blame? We can blame the abusers and the mother for allowing Baby P to die, because that is 100 percent certain. Haringey are partially to blame, because they knew what was happening and they COULD have done more to protect this child. However, there is one point of concern that seems to be left out of the blame factor, and that is the government. The government are the ones who rectify and approve the rules on child protection. However these rules are slack, and need tightening up. Most children suspected as being at risk, are thrown on the so called 'Child protection register,' yet they are still left at the hands of their abusers while the situation is assesed. Is this not the government playing a part in the abuse themselves? My answer is yes it is. If a child needs protection, how DO the government think that listing a child on a list while being assessed is going to protect them? This is a case of what happened with Baby P. The seriousness of this list is, it puts our children at risk further, children are still abused and tortured while left with the abuser, because the case has to be assessed. The government must change this rule. When I got my children back from care, I told the Social Worker 'More children would die if the rules on child care were unchanged.' I was right. Look at the case of Madeliene Mccan, left in on her own, kidnapped and yet still Social Services think it safe to leave the children with their parents! This is why the system REALLY fails, because reality gets ignored, everything has to be done by the book.

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  • 87. At 2:34pm on 24 Nov 2008, TheresOnly1Soupey wrote:

    I will tell you who is to blame - but you're not going to like it.

    Ultimately the blame for the failure of social services to protect this child (because let us not forget the real blame is with those convicted of this crime) will fall to YOU.

    YOU, yes you the public (that's everyone reading this).

    WHY? - because at the last election I don't remember a clambouring for the party for 'social work reform'.
    I don't remember a large contingent supporting the 'lets raise council tax to pay for vital services' ethos.
    ...because it never happened.

    In the last election the electorate were more concerned with taxes and fox hunting, and by the time the next election comes they will have forgotten all about baby P and will vote for their own self-interests.

    The enquiry will of course never go so far as to accuse the public - no that would never do. Instead it will find a place between the mother and the Government and settle blame at that point.

    The bottom line is resources - if the social worker didn't have (an over the limit) 18 cases to deal with, if the doctor felt she had the time to take with the 'cranky baby' and if the police had the time and resources to monitor the activities of the family - then Baby P wouldn't have happened - or would have been much less likely to.

    The problem is no-one wants to tell the public this. The Government doesn't (because you won't vote for them next time), the media don't (because you will all stop buying their papers / watching their programmes and the enquiry won't want to say - "we find it's the fault of the public for not putting social services / child care at the top of the governments priority list - oh but thanks for paying for that folks"

    The result is mindless finger pointing with everyone ignoring that big old elephant in the room - the will of the public.

    I on the other hand am quite prepared to lay blame at teh right place - and it includes me (because I am not a hypocrite). My vote at the last election was not based on who would reform social services most - at all costs.

    Maybe all those people who "don't bovva to vote because it's a waste of time" - might reconsider the consequences of their actions.

    I am sick and tired of hearing people say how awful it was and how bad Harringey are and yet they didn't even bother voting at the last election, or they decided to vote for a party promoting self-interest - which can be either of the 2 main parties.

    Maybe the rest of us should consider a bit more carefully who and what we are voting for in 2010, we may all feel a minority party vote is wasted, but when the 'party for social work reform' polls 8% of the votes in every constituency then you will suddenly find the main parties take up their policies.

    You may be asking how I know all this - well it's because it's happened many, many times in my lifetime and in many different areas. We will have a media fuelled uproar for a while, there will be a sharper focus on social services for a while and they will receive additional funding they desperately need - but until there is a serious change of attitude by the public at large at voting time - then there will be no long term solution. Government and politics relies on the fact that most peoples memory fades quite quickly and past transgressions and failures are soon forgotten.

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  • 88. At 3:34pm on 25 Nov 2008, sensibleBiggles wrote:

    What a load of rubbish its the publics fault, do we blame the public for everything that goes wrong in the Country because l think you will find that free speech is no longer available and voting will not get the party you want.( I always vote).

    Who is to blame the so called Mother,Boyfriend,Lodger,Dr,Social Workers,Government.

    Most people l know that work are underpaid,stressed out, and overworked whats the difference. People are not forced to work in these positions.

    The Government does not put enough money into most services so whats different there. We were told that money was not a factor in this situtation.

    There is no excuse for this little boy to die with so many people involved and supposed to be checking him.

    I just hope that the people that tortured this helpless little boy gets the book thrown at them 14 years or life.

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  • 89. At 4:43pm on 27 Nov 2008, WestCornwall wrote:

    The front-line workers in schools are teachers: well-paid, mostly good graduates, professionally regulated, with some standing. Contrast this with the front-line social workers many of whom are excellent caring people but not of the same quality or pay-grade.
    We need to establish a substantial cadre of highly-skilled family workers (a new title would be needed) who would have legal knowledge as well as a more detached professionalism. This proposal will cost money, so will not happen.
    I also question the assumption that the "multi-agency" approach is the right one. It requires a huge amount of communication to operate successfully. Even arranging meetings is difficult for such busy people. Highly-skilled family workers could take the lead.
    The profession I think should be most criticised in the recent cases (Baby P, the ghastly rapist father) is the medical one. How can anyone with an education in medicine (surely includes human genetics) not spot the possibility of incest given the evidence?
    Incidentally, the BBC website separates Education and Health - and has no link for Social Services. Perhaps the website should reflect modern reality with a Children and Families link.

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  • 90. At 11:38am on 04 Dec 2008, DjSmall90 wrote:

    i think this whole baby p things is absolutley tretturous, baby p was a gorgeous little boy and didnt deserve this. child abuse needs to be stopped and stamped out before another child gets hurt or worse killed, i am going to start a campaign to stop child abuse, whos with me? write back

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  • 91. At 01:12am on 06 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    There is enough blame to go around on the this case....Not for only, one person or agency...

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  • 92. At 01:13am on 06 Dec 2008, poshCrescentmoon wrote:

    I agree with #3. We really need to put the accountability on the perpetrators and punish more severely. This way I am sure crimes like this will be very much reduced and eventually eradicated.

    If we save taxpayers' money and stop fuffing around these criminals and giving them excuses/social workers and paying the social workers high salaries to do so, then we just may have more to spend on care for those really in need.

    The punishments don't fit the crimes in Britain at all. We have become far to soft on criminals. I have noticed on my travels that certain countries have armed guards outside banks, school gates are guarded and kids monitored etc etc. The people, especially women, feel safe in this environment and the kids are well cared for.

    Where I live, if the unlikely event of a crime like the baby P case cropped up, there wouldn't be any hope of going to prison because the perpetrator of the crime would be counting the days before he/she is hanged.

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  • 93. At 01:20am on 06 Dec 2008, poshCrescentmoon wrote:

    The blame is with the law makers.

    A tougher approach is needed for punishments of crimes. Prison isn't the answer for everyone. In fact, prison is rarely the answer to any crime. Punishments should be swift and severe in cases like this.

    I am 100% sure that if the people who commit heinous crimes like this in Britain were given the same punishments some other countries mete out then they wouldn't ever dream of doing the things they do.

    I am also certain that it is time for religious leaders to stand up and gather in their flocks again which would definitely result in stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger country....... eventually.

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