I find it almost unbelievable

  Forum Editor 23:01 03 Oct 2013

that in 21st century Britain a mother can kill her own child by neglect, and nobody does anything to stop her.

As the Chief Executive of the NSPCC put it: "It appears Hamzah disappeared off the radar of his community and services, and a full picture of the horror that was his life emerged two years too late,"

The mother of this child repeatedly stopped Health visitors from seeing him. I would have thought that alone would ring big alarm bells with any sensible person. The point has been made that families have a right to privacy when it comes to bringing up their children, but surely this consideration should not override obvious warning signs?

  Woolwell 13:19 05 Oct 2013

spider9 - What level of local council are you referring to? It doesn't really matter as the elected councillors probably do not have relevant formal qualifications but the staff should advise them. In my experience few ignore the rules because of the penalties if they do.

  spuds 13:29 05 Oct 2013


If only you would read what is put before you, instead of making sweeping incorrect statements?.

Your experiences of local council's is obviously very different to mine.

I have no objections whatsoever to people with qualifications. What I do object to, is people who use supposed qualification's for their own personal use, and not for intended use.

Regarding Human Rights, then I would suggest that you obtain a copy of said document, and see if your local council acts in accordance. Perhaps starting with Article 8, Article 14, Article 1 Protocol 1.

  Forum Editor 14:22 05 Oct 2013

"What I do object to, is people who use supposed qualification's for their own personal use, and not for intended use."

You're getting this wrong spuds. Of course people use qualifications for their own benefit - that's why they work for them in the first place. A qualification is a means to an end; employers demand them for some jobs.

In any case, this has nothing to do with qualifications, it's about local authorities not having sufficient resources. They don't have enough people on the ground with the training necessary to detect and prevent child abuse. There's an apparent failure of communication between Social services departments, the NHS and the police, so when a problem is identified nobody quite knows who is doing what. Add to that an endemic fear of being criticised for interferring and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Children will continue to die at the hands of their parents.

It's no good saying - as some people have - that 'this kind of thing has always gone on' as if that somehow makes it acceptable. It isn't acceptable, and it's up to us to take steps to stop it. We need a culture in which there are enough people with the understanding to know when there's an issue, and the power to intervene. Nothing less will be good enough.

  michaelw 14:41 05 Oct 2013

Basically it comes down to selecting the right people for the right job and to give those chosen the proper training. At the moment this isn't happening.

I used to deal with Community Health teams quite a lot and their social workers and they were good at their jobs. Admittedly these had extra training to deal with mental health issues and are called Advanced Social Workers. I also dealt with the social workers who hadn't had this extra training and found their lack of nous quite worrying.

Adequate training combined with common sense, a 'nose' for picking up suspisious circumstances and an ability for lateral thinking should be the norm for social care workers, but like some jobs this career often attracts people who are in dire need of help themselves.

All too often in jobs that require looking after needy people the stress of the job, lack of supervisory support, the feeling of being overloaded can all can lead to lack of motivation, depression and lack of vision.

That, I feel, is what happened in this sad case, and this type of tragedy will happen again until things change within Social Services.

  oresome 16:11 05 Oct 2013

It's not only a change of culture that's required. Where's the money coming from to finance these aims?

The reality is that the social security budget demands have outstripped our willingness or ability to finance them.

If we care to lift the lid, there are sections of our society, whether through poverty, age, illness, disability, drugs or drink or quite possibly a combination of these factors and others that would require an enormous expenditure to support to what most of us would consider an acceptable standard of care.

Only the odd one makes the headline news and we pontificate for a day or two and then it's forgotten until the next time. We collectively probably spend more time thinking of how to reduce our tax bill.

  spuds 16:18 05 Oct 2013


I totally agree with what you say, and have also witnessed what you have clearly laid out in the above.

The major question, is who will make these changes. Council's have repeatedly stated that they do not have sufficient funding or resources (for about everything), and each government or political power or party blames the other.

But what does one do, if a 24 hour emergency social service telephone helpline goes unanswered, and a councillor gets reprimanded for bringing the subject up. This happened not all that long ago, with one of our local councillor's?.

  fourm member 16:19 05 Oct 2013

After listening to the father, it does sound as though there was a certain amount of prejudice at work. The father was charged with a domestic assault some years ago and it sounds a bit as though his complaints fell on deaf ears because he was branded a trouble-maker following that event.

  john bunyan 16:48 05 Oct 2013

I heard a phone in programme on Radio 4 this afternoon on this subject. Quite a few Social workers phoned in. There was a consensus that about 85% of their time was spent in the office filling in endless forms; their supervisors hardly ever met "clients". I do not know how it can be done but somehow the % of time spent checking on clients must be improved, and they must use their legal powers of entry (with a police presence) more than they do now, and be more sceptical over parent's assurances over injuries.. Secondly GP's (regrettably District Nurses do not directly work for them) must have better systems to check why infants have not been seen.

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