Monday, 1 February 2010

Politicians: any role in Hackney social services' dark past?

The group manager of Hackney's children's services, Risthardh Hare, reviewed Precious for the Guardian last week. He said: "I've had three cases that have been similar to Precious's. It's not unheard of. It's not a made up story to pull the heart strings. It happens now."

On January 17, the Guardian printed another story, a book by a detective sergeant who worked for Hackney police's child protection unit up until 2006. This contained details of a case which led to a revamp of Hackney's social services - and the employment of social workers like Hare.

It was the death of a child in 2003: "he (Tyrell) had been taken off the child protection register six days before he was killed. Social services had seen Tyrell four times in the month before he died..."

The unnamed detective said: "After the Tyrell trial, Hackney council issued a statement: "The area child protection committee is concluding its investigation. Recommendations will be implemented by the respective agencies. Appropriate action will be taken as required if individual failings are identified." But the results of their investigation were never made public."

In 1999 Hackney Council had been ordered to improve its child care services by the government. Jules Pipe became Leader of Hackney Council in June 2001 and has been Mayor since October 2002. The Tyrell tragedy happened in 2003.

The unpublished report might show if the current administration had any role in this event. Whether child care had been turned around since 1999. Whether politicians helped or hindered social services up until Tyrell's death in 2003.

(This advertorial piece for Hackney's social services said Risthardh Hare was one of the first to take a post in an upgraded department. It said: "Hare’s new position pays over £5,000 a year more than the mainstream rate for someone of his experience. It also offers him more financial responsibility; he is permitted to authorise payments of up to £500 without consulting his line manager.")

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