« a little more on the hideous bleakness of light entertainment | Main | Wang's progress »

October 05, 2012


john b

All of what you say.

And yet I'm perplexed how this could have come about, even given how difficult and unpleasant the system makes life. There are people who provide food. Even if there weren't, you can punch a policeman in the face whilst carrying your baby.

I guess "non-Anglophone mother with mental health problems"... but how does that not translate into the child being taken into LA care?

Possibly this is more of a Baby P problem in terms of lack of oversight of kids with abusive (through neglect rather than beating, but that doesn't make much difference to the kid) guardians?

Chris Williams

Because I can see a number of reasons why a quite reasonable person is going to think "today something might turn up" rather than thinking "today I will punch a copper and probably never see my child again". As for relevant LA, I think the point is that NASS and its successors are so incompetent, it's unlikely that they knew this family existed.


Jeez. Just independently spotted this in the trade mag. Why isn't this the top of the news bulletins?


Because refugees aren't human.


The Ham & High has the story. (note: you may want to wait until you're feeling strong)

Chris Williams

Ta for the link, Alex. Clearly the LA knew about the family, and it was sudden illness of the mother rather than lack of food per se that doomed the child. Perhaps there was a failure by health visitors to notice something: but I'm not sure if we can ever reasonably expect them to be calling in once a week.


There are people who provide food.

Or, in the words of the story, "the family had become dependent on ‘ad hoc’ charitable handouts". That's the trouble with ad hoc charitable handouts - they won't always be there. If you create a system with cracks that people can fall through, somebody will fall through the cracks - and it won't be their fault.

OTOH, the Ham and High story suggests that social services were on the case and what went wrong was the mother's sudden illness (and lack of friends and neighbours). So I'm holding back the rant that was going to go here until I'm sure it's applicable.


There is a significant difference of emphasis between the story in the Ham & High (dated April) and the one in Inside Housing that jamie links to(dated today i.e. post case review). If the trade mag is right, the case review conclusions focus on the benefits stuff, not the health condition of the mother.

"‘Joined up government should be able to manage the transition from one form of public support to another,’ Terry Bamford, chair of Westminster’s Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, wrote in the letter."

john b

The H&H story sounds like what I'd expected, although with physical rather than mental illness. Note that the mother was capable, by whatever means, of calling 999 but only did so too late.

The IH story is badly written and doesn't make much sense, so hopefully the difference between the two will be followed up by somebody competent.

Christ, I feel sorry for the older kid.


the gaps aren't difficult to fill - presumably the mother's state of health was how it was because of her experiences over the previous six months. John's intuition was right that it probably isn't possible to literally starve to death as the result of a bureaucratic error, but the system that put Baby EG into this state of affairs wouldn't have done so for someone who wasn't an asylum seeker. If you build a bad system, it will generate bad outcomes. I don't think anyone could credibly claim that something this bad or worse was totally unpredictable as a consequence of the way things are.

Chris Williams

What Daniel said.


just to add that the inquiry report doesn't claim otherwise and (if you have a bit of experience with official language and reading between the lines) puts the blame roughly where it lies and doesn't make excuses.

The comments to this entry are closed.

friends blogs


Blog powered by Typepad

my former home