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Children: Protection

Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The death of Baby P in Haringey is a very tragic case that will have shocked and appalled the country. It makes all of us question how someone could do such a terrible thing to a child and set out to deceive the very people trying to help.

Safeguarding children is the Government’s top priority and we expect it to be the top priority for local agencies too. In response to Lord Laming’s report following the death of Victoria Climbié we introduced fundamental reforms to help keep children safe. Local areas are also now required to review every case where a child is harmed or killed, and neglect or abuse is suspected. We will be considering carefully the serious case review in this case and whether there needs to be a further investigation of child protection procedures and practices among local agencies in Haringey.

The reforms put in place by the Government in response to Lord Laming’s recommendations set a very clear direction and have significantly strengthened the framework for safeguarding children. In order to ensure that these reforms are being implemented systematically, I have asked Lord Laming to prepare an independent report of progress being made, identifying any barriers to effective, consistent implementation, and recommending whether additional action is needed to overcome them. Lord Laming expects to submit his findings early next year.

Safeguarding children is the responsibility of us all. It is vital that we strive for the best possible practice so that vulnerable children receive the protection they need. The Government are determined to strengthen the system for safeguarding and we look forward to Lord Laming’s report and his recommendations.