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Investigations into child neglect in Norfolk not published

PUBLISHED: 07:48 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 07 March 2017

Norfolk County Council's children's services department has twice been rated as inadequate by inspectors. Photo: Getty Images

Norfolk County Council's children's services department has twice been rated as inadequate by inspectors. Photo: Getty Images

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The publication of a string of serious case reviews into how organisations and professionals worked to protect children has highlighted how none were published in Norfolk for more than five years.

Not one serious case review - which take place after a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is thought to be involved - was published publicly in Norfolk between 2009 and 2014.

However, there has been eight since 2014 - which highlights how, until recently, the council had dealt with incidents without publishing them.

Ofsted inspectors, in 2015, said there had been a “previous reliance on discretionary multi-agency reviews”, which are held in private and not published publicly like serious case reviews. The reviews are carried out by Norfolk Safeguarding Children board and the council has acknowledged there was a need to strengthen that board, which it says has happened.

But a case where a child in foster care was groomed - despite the girl’s foster carer having raised concerns with children’s services about a man who was later convicted of sexual activity with her - was not deemed to meet the threshold for such a review. In 2012, that man went on to be jailed for sexual activity with the girl, which Norwich Crown Court heard involved an element of grooming.

The council would not comment on that case, but a spokesman said the national criteria for serious case reviews changed in 2013 and 2015.

They said the criteria changes and the improved governance of the board had sparked an increase in reviews - which give all agencies the opportunity to learn from mistakes made.

Recent examples of serious case reviews include a girl who was sexually abused by her brothers, despite children’s services being involved with the family; a girl who was abused by a convicted sex offender who was in a relationship with her mother for almost a decade and two children who were left at risk of neglect and abuse for years, living in a home which was often filthy and filled with drug users.

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