Mummified child was ‘Let Down’ by systems
An enquiry into the death of a four-year-old boy who was starved by his mother said that his death "could not have been predicted", but UKs systems "let Hamzah down both before and following his death".
Children's minister, Edward Timpson, has identified ten important questions that he thinks the review should have answered.
They all relate to the apparent failure of social workers to follow up a succession of episodes where Hamzah's siblings had appealed for help or had given cause for concern.
Hamzah Khan's mother Amanda Hutton, 43, was jailed for 15 years last month after the boy's decomposed body was found in a cot in her bedroom in Bradford, Yorkshire, nearly two years after he died.
Professor Nick Frost, who chairs the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The SCR (serious case review) is very clear that Hamzah's death could not have been predicted but finds that systems, many of them national systems, let Hamzah down both before and following his death."
A DfE (Department for Education) source said: “It's even more worrying that local agencies don't realise how poor an investigation this is.
“There will have to be a proper investigation to answer the serious questions it raises.”
But Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson, has said the review is a “rubbish document”.
Mr Timpson said he has “deep concerns” because it “fails to explain sufficiently clearly the actions taken, or not taken, by children's social care”.
He said the answers to the “glaring absences” from the review must be made public to “ensure such mistakes will not be repeated in the future”.
Prof Frost said:
"It is my responsibility, as independent chair, to ensure that lessons are learnt.
“Very sadly, I cannot give assurances that a tragedy like this will never happen again in our country - as we can't control or predict the behaviour of all parents, the vast majority of whom are doing their very best to care for their children.
“However, I can assure you that at this stage I am satisfied each agency is responding adequately but this is an ongoing process which requires constant monitoring.
“No child should go through what Hamzah experienced. I am satisfied that systems are in place today that minimise the chance of a situation such as this ever being repeated in Bradford.”
Bradford Crown Court heard how alcoholic Hutton was living in “breathtakingly awful” conditions with five of her young children as well as Hamzah's mummified remains when shocked police entered the four-bedroom house in September 2011.
[RoyalSlider Error] Incorrect RoyalSlider ID or problem with query.
A jury found she had allowed Hamzah to starve to death in December 2009 and left his body in a cot with a teddy.
The remains were only discovered due to a rookie police community support officer's tenacious pursuit of a minor antisocial behaviour complaint because she knew something was wrong.
The family was known to all the main agencies yet Hutton had a history of failing to co-operate with services that could have helped her.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said:
“Tragically Hamzah became invisible, slipping off the radar of our entire society the moment he left hospital after birth.
“We have to ask how this could happen in 21st century Britain. His mother made no attempt to register his birth; he missed midwife appointments, health visitor checks, immunisations; and he was never registered for school.
“A red flag must be raised when key appointments are missed so that children cannot disappear.
“It cannot be right that the first time someone took serious steps to track him down was six years after his birth by which time he was already dead.”