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Statements after Kirklees Serious Case Review

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Statements on behalf of Karen Hemsworth, vice chair of Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board and assistant director for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults, NHS Kirklees, and Alison O’Sullivan, director for Children & Young People, Kirklees Council

Ms Hemsworth’s statement:

“We welcome the findings of the Serious Case Review and we are already acting on its recommendations.

“This was a tragic case and our thoughts are with the family. Sanam’s death was at the hands of those closest to her and we agree fully with the conclusion that “accountability for the death of the child clearly rests with the child’s mother and partner”.

“The mother, Zahbeena Navsarka, was convicted of manslaughter and her partner, Subhan Anwar, is now serving a minimum term of 23 years for murder.

“The trial judge described their violence towards two-year-old Sanam as “deliberate cruelty beyond belief”.

“Sanam had never been subject to a child protection plan and her mother had not been the subject of any child protection or care support in her earlier years. Subhan Anwar was not previously known to any public agencies.

It is clear that there were faults in the recording of concerns about Sanam’s welfare

Karen Hemsworth

“Most injuries occurred within just four weeks of Sanam’s death, at a time when the family had moved home and left behind services that knew them.

“While the review finds that agencies acted appropriately in identifying and providing services to the mother, it is clear that there were faults in the recording of concerns about Sanam’s welfare.

“We are taking steps to ensure robust systems are in place to better monitor supervision and to improve the competency of all staff in child protection issues.

“Case file audit systems have been improved so that the overall quality of recording on case files is more closely monitored.

“Training for supervisors is in place and feedback to staff at all levels has been organised in respect of the lessons arising from the case.

“Three members of staff have been the subject of disciplinary investigations as a result of their involvement, two of whom have received sanctions. We are unable to issue further details of these sanctions for reasons of staff confidentiality.

“Many different agencies were involved in this case, and we will continue taking an active role in taking forward the recommendations contained within the review.”

Ms O’Sullivan’s statement

“This is a tragic and distressing case and our sympathies continue to be with Sanam’s family.

“The independently chaired Serious Case Review makes recommendations relating to all the agencies involved, and the council fully accepts its findings.

Procedures were not properly followed by staff in the Children & Young People Service

Alison O’Sullivan

“The review found that four weeks before Sanam died a concern about her welfare had been raised but procedures were not properly followed by staff in the Children & Young People Service.

“As a result an opportunity to make child protection enquiries was missed. This should not have happened and I would like to apologise for this lapse in our usual standard of professional practice.

“As soon as these concerns came to light a management investigation was instigated and as a result three staff have been subject to disciplinary investigations. Two staff have received very serious sanctions.

“We are determined to learn lessons and we have reinforced with all of our staff the importance of always following procedures.

“Certain groups of staff have received retraining and we will continue working vigilantly to ensure a lapse like this cannot happen again in future.”

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