Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Haringey Council and Baby P

I was completely sickened, as I'm sure most people were, to hear of the case of Baby P. I can hardly bear to think of how much that child must have suffered. And here we have Haringey council again saying "lessons will be learnt". Wait a minute...I am experiencing deja vu. Did they not say that after the death of Victoria Climbie, eight years ago?

I do not understand how two social workers could have been given 'written warnings'. Just what do you need to do to get sacked from Haringey council? If these social workers are at all to blame (which, I assume, they must be, hence the written warnings), then how can there possibly be a grey area? If the death, and the long-term abuse of a baby is not grounds for sacking, it must literally be impossible for council employees to lose their jobs. Why?

I have tonight written to Ed Balls, highlighting what I, as a Haringey resident, see as a council in crisis:

Dear Mr Balls,

I email you as a resident of Haringey. I was very upset but unfortunately not surprised to hear of the terrible plight of Baby P. I have lived in the borough of Haringey for over two years and have been appalled at their inefficiency, lack of accountability, poor 'customer' care and evident lack of direction.

Haringey council is in crisis, and it's just a tragedy that this had to happen in order to highlight that. My own dealings with both the council and Homes for Haringey, the ALMO in charge of council housing in the borough, have again and again shown that here is an organisation that covers up - often in a very corrupt manner - any problems it has rather than dealing with them. It is a council that repeatedly claims it will 'learn from its mistakes' but fails to do so.

I cannot strongly urge you enough to take over control of the social services division in Haringey. Haringey cannot be trusted to even fullfil day to day, mundane requirements. I implore you not to put the lives of vulnerable children into the hands of people who do not know what they are doing, and do not care.

Yours Sincerely, Sarah Mitchell

P.S. I would like to add that earlier this year my local baby clinic was closed down, and the reason sighted by Haringey PCT was 'health and safety' problems with the building. The same building is still being used for other health teams. Documents unearthed by a ward councillor show that Haringey had earmarked the clinic for closure several years ago. At the time of the closure, one of the health workers said to me "There will be problems with babies we will miss because people won't have a clinic to go to. It is no exaggeration to say that a baby could lose its life because of this decision."

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