Child Protection failings and lessons learnt in Haringey

Ms M Jennings made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,

I refer to the recent Child Protection failings in Haringey that are referred to the judgement of 13th March 2013. Please see the links to the High Court case reports that have been placed in the public domain by Judge Thornton because it is in the public interest to do so.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi...

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...

In relation to the court judgements confirming the Child Protection failings, has the Department for Education received any correspondence, reports or communications making representations as to actions that Haringey Council or the Department should carry out to safeguard Haringey's Child Protection service? Please disclose all the correspondence, reports and communications.

Has the Department for Education corresponded, made any reports or communications in relation to the court judgements confirming the Child Protection failings? Please disclose all the correspondence, reports and communications.

Have any plans been produced to address the Child Protection
failings? Please disclose the plans and any associated reports, documents and information.

Has the Department for Education received a request for an independent investigation? Please disclose that request or requests.

Has the Department for Education considered whether an independent investigation should be carried out? If yes please disclose all the documents, letters, reports, statistical information, and other information that was under consideration in reviewing whether or not to carry out an independent
investigation.

If the Department for Education is commissioning an independent investigation, then provide the terms of reference report for that investigation and any documents to be considered with the terms of reference report.

Yours faithfully,

Ms M Jennings

Dear Department for Education,

Child Protection failings and lessons learnt.

I do not appear to have had a response. I understand that by law, you should have responded promptly and by 10th June 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Ms M Jennings

Department for Education

Dear Ms Jennings.

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

Unfortunately, we can find no trace of an FOI request submitted from yourself on our system.

We would be most grateful if you could re-submit your request via our contact us page: www.education.gov.uk/help/contactus/dfe

You will be sent an acknowledgement once your correspondence has been allocated a reference number.

Many thanks

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

show quoted sections

Dear Department for Education,

I am sorry that you do not appear to have received my request for information.

Here it is again:

Dear Department for Education,

I refer to the recent Child Protection failings in Haringey that are referred to the judgement of 13th March 2013. Please see the links to the High Court case reports that have been placed in the public domain by Judge Thornton because it is in the public
interest to do so.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi...

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...

In relation to the court judgements confirming the Child Protection failings, has the Department for Education received any correspondence, reports or communications making representations as to actions that Haringey Council or the Department should carry out to safeguard Haringey's Child Protection service? Please disclose all the correspondence, reports and communications.

Has the Department for Education corresponded, made any reports or communications in relation to the court judgements confirming the Child Protection failings? Please disclose all the correspondence, reports and communications.

Have any plans been produced to address the Child Protection failings? Please disclose the plans and any associated reports, documents and information.

Has the Department for Education received a request for an independent investigation? Please disclose that request or requests.

Has the Department for Education considered whether an independent investigation should be carried out? If yes please disclose all the documents, letters, reports, statistical information, and other information that was under consideration in reviewing whether or not to carry out an independent investigation.

If the Department for Education is commissioning an independent investigation, then provide the terms of reference report for that investigation and any documents to be considered with the terms of
reference report.

I would be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt.

Yours faithfully,

Ms M Jennings

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

Our logs show that the original request was successfully delivered to the DfE's email servers soon after it was sent on 10th May 2013.

Ganesh - WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer

Department for Education

Dear Ms Jennings

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0036751

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

show quoted sections

Department for Education

5 Attachments

Dear Ms Jennings,
Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information act, received on 11 June. You refer to the recent Child
Protection failings in Haringey that are referred in the judgement of 13th
March 2013 and ask:

         "In relation to the court judgements confirming the Child
Protection failings, has the Department for Education received any
correspondence, reports or communications making representations as to
actions that Haringey Council or the Department should carry out to
safeguarding Haringey's Child Protection services? Please disclose all the
correspondence, reports and communications."

          "Has the Department for Education corresponded, made any reports
or communications in relation to the court judgements confirming the Child
Protection failings? Please disclose all the correspondence, reports and
communications."

       "Has the Department for Education corresponded, made any reports or
communications in relation to the court judgements confirming the Child
Protection failings? Please disclose all the correspondence, reports and
communications."

        "Have any plans been produced to address the Child Protection
failings? Please disclose the plans and any associated reports, documents
and information."

        "Has the Department for Education received a request for an
independent investigation? Please disclose that request or requests."

        "Has the Department for Education considered whether an
independent investigation should be carried out? If yes please disclose
all the documents, letters, reports, statistical information, and other
information that was under consideration in reviewing whether or not to
carry out an independent investigation."

        "If the Department for Education is commissioning an independent
investigation, then provide the terms of reference report for that
investigation and any documents to be considered with the terms of
reference report."

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Department has decided that the public interest lies in disclosing the
information you have requested. A copy of the information is attached to
this letter along with the reply sent to the correspondent by a
Departmental official.

As you will note, the correspondent’s address and personal information has
been redacted. Personal information is exempt under Section S40 (2) of the
Act.  Section 40 (2) provides for personal data to be exempt from
disclosure, where its disclosure otherwise than under the Act would
contravene any of the data protection principles under the Data Protection
Act 1998.  Section 40 (2) is an absolute exemption in these circumstances.

We were aware of the Judicial Review proceedings and were alerted to the
publication of the judgement and subsequent newspaper articles.

The aforementioned Judicial Review relates to an individual case and the
way in which Haringey carried out their social care functions. Local
authorities have a duty to provide social care services – they are
required to fulfil these functions within a specified manner. Local
authorities are responsible for any decisions they reach concerning
individual children, including decisions to undertake child protection
investigations, subject in appropriate cases to the direction of the
courts. Government Ministers and officials are not in a position to
comment on or attempt to intervene in individual cases such as this.

Individuals have the right to make a formal complaint under the local
authority’s complaints procedures. This can be done by writing to either
the Director of Children’s Services or the Designated Complaints Officer
for the local authority. If after this stage of the complaints procedure
the appellant is still not satisfied they can ask the local authority to
look at the problem again.   An appellant who nonetheless remains
dissatisfied may wish to pursue their grievances via the Ombudsman or a
Judicial Review.

The Department for Education does not intend to carry out an investigation
into this matter – this action was taken against Haringey Council, it is
for them to respond to the decision if they wish to do so.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Your
correspondence has been given reference number 2013/0036751.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request. 
 
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.  

 

Yours sincerely,

Anna Newman

Child Protection
Department for Education

 
 [1]www.education.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Clive Carter left an annotation ()

Data protection law allows for sharing information under clear and specific conditions one of which, is when the threshold of child protection has been met (reasonable cause: evidence) to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm.

Even then there should be a rationale in writing: parents haven't given consent and overriding because of [whatever] or there is tangible evidence that the seeking of consent will put the child at risk or that a criminal investigation will be contaminated if consent is sought.

The point being that, in Haringey the Multi Agency Hubs were sharing information in all cases at a *preliminary* stage and not distinguishing, so who knows how many families' data has been infringed in cases that did not even lead to any agency involvement?

Haringey were lumping together all cases including children with additional needs, early help and applying child abuse procedures - that was and remains unlawful practice because any case that is not child protection, requires consent and the State has no compulsory powers to intervene in their lives.