I’ve just finished watching Panorama on the events leading up to Baby P’s death and the biggest concerns raised were
Management overruling Social Workers according to one of Haringey Council’s staff speaking anonymously, with lack of funds being cited as one of the reasons for management decisions.
Insufficient number of social workers and a high turnover of staff.
High levels of bureaucracy with 60-80% of staff time being spent doing paperwork.
Breakdown of communication between the Police and Haringey Council with differing versions of what was discussed and agreed.
The number of cases being dealt with by each social worker being too high.
The doctor who examined Baby P failing to examine him properly when he was bought into hospital.
Many of the reasons given by social workers referred to in the program were similar to those expressed by the manager of social workers who I mentioned in this post. The lack of sufficient funds, inadequate training and more cases than the recommended amount being given to each social worker being the obvious ones.
While all the concerns highlighted in the program and elsewhere need to be looked at and dealt with robustly, especially as they don’t seem to be specific only to Haringey Council to avoid a repeat of this tragedy, I remain of the view that the death of Baby P was undoubtedly avoidable. While the system remains inadequate even after the Climbie Report recommendations, the failure of individuals to flag up the glaringly obvious concerns in this case is why Baby P remained exposed to violent individuals whose behaviour eventually killed him.