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HEMMING CLAIMS OFFICIAL COVER-UP AFTER BABY P

17-11-2008

In the aftermath of the death of Baby P whose plight was ignored by Haringey’s Social Services, Birmingham MP John Hemming claims the government is covering up similar incidents and is taking the “wrong children” into care.

Hemming, Chairman of the pressure group Justice for Families has tabled a commons motion calling for the government to reveal the list of deaths so it can be audited.

"I have been studying the reports of child deaths.", he said,

"I believe that local authorities in England have been taking the wrong children into care. This results in more children dying from abuse as there is a limit  set in most authorities on the number of children in care. – this known as the gateway process.

"I have, therefore, started asking each of the Childrens’ Services Authorities to give me the list of children who have died where there is a ‘serious case review’.

"The government have, however, told the local authorities not to respond to my FoI request. This is, in fact, illegal. The government have no power to tell Local Authorities not to respond. However, that has not stopped them."

"They were a little late. Some authorities had already responded by the time the instruction went out. However, a number of authorities have still not responded. What I am finding is that there is a conflict between the numbers reported by government and those on the list.

"For example there is a report today that there were 189 Serious Case reviews following death between 2005 and 2007, but I have 211 cases on my list."

"I accept that there may be errors on my list. Northamptonshire have reported a massive number of Serious Case Reviews and we have gone back to them to ask them to check this. However, the government must produce their own list. This is the only way that we can be certain of what is happening."

"Alarm bells rang when I found that the government were telling local authorities to refuse to give me information. We cannot know the whole truth until they do."

"Non Accidential Injury deaths were running at around 50 per year in England in the early 1990s. Even the government admit that the figures have gone up. However, we need to know the full story. It is important to remember that Haringey were doing exactly what the government told them to do which is why they got three stars.

"The problems in Haringey are, however, replicated across the country."

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