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Darryn Clarke

Volume 957: debated on Thursday 9 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will now announce the names of the chairman and members of the committee of inquiry into the death of Darryn Clarke, following representations by the Liverpool city council, and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange;(2) when he now expects the statutory independent inquiry into the death of Darryn Clarke to begin, following his statement of 23rd August 1978;(3) if he is now in a position to publish the terms of reference of the inquiry into the death of Darryn Clarke following his statement of 23rd August 1978.

I am pleased to be able to tell my hon. Friend that Mr. John Hugill, QC, has agreed to chair the inquiry which will be held under section 98 of the Children Act 1975 and section 84 of the National Health Service Act 1977. The terms of reference will be:

To inquire into (a) the information about Darryn Clarke and his family that was made available to the relevant authorities, or could have been obtained by them, during the period preceding his death (b) the responses by the authorities to that information, including the professional decisions made; (c) the arrangements for communication within and between th relevant authorities and between them and other persons and agencies holding information about Darryn Clarke and his family—and to report.
The ether members of the committee of inquiry will be:

Mr. John Chant—Director of Social Services. Somerset.
Professor David Hull—Professor of Child Health, Nottingham university.
Miss Margaret Lindars—Area Nursing Officer, Buckinghamshire area health authority.

It is intended to hold a preliminary meeting to decide questions of procedure and representation on 4th December 1978; and to start hearing evidence in Liverpool from 29th January 1979. It is not known how long the inquiry will take, although its task will be completed as quickly as possible.

After careful consideration of the issues involved I have decided not to issue a direction that the inquiry be held in private. The chairman has discretion, however, to hold any part of the inquiry in private should he think it appropriate.

The secretary to the committee will be Mr. S. Godfrey of my Department.