‘Sleight of hand’ over answers to starved boy questions

Nancy Palmer, Nick Frost, Kate Tunstall,  at the release of the Serious Case Review into the death of Hamzah Khan in Bradford.

Nancy Palmer, Nick Frost, Kate Tunstall, at the release of the Serious Case Review into the death of Hamzah Khan in Bradford.

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CHILD protection bosses in Bradford are refusing to reveal their response to ten key unanswered questions over the report into Hamzah Khan’s death.

Education Minister Edward Timpson demanded swift answers from the city’s Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) over “missed opportunities” to protect the four-year-old, who was starved to death by his alcoholic mother in 2009.

After promising to provide the answers “within the week”, the board wrote a letter with a response to the ten questions but has now refused to publish them.

Its chairman, Professor Nick Frost said it would be “inappropriate for him to publish the letter and that this decision rests with the Minister”.

In his letter last Wednesday to officials in Bradford, Mr Timpson said it was “essential answers to the questions are put into the public domain” to reassure the public any mistakes would not be repeated. He said the report contained “glaring absences”, such as failing to note whether Hamzah’s siblings were assessed by social workers before 2011.

But a Department for Education spokeswoman said yesterday: “Publishing the details of what happened, and why, is a matter for LSCBs as part of their responsibility for publishing good quality serious case reviews. We have received Bradford’s report and will respond in due course.”

Bradford MP George Galloway said he would write to Mr Timpson to demand the reply was made public. He said: “The minister put out, very clearly, very directly and very publicly, a series of crucial questions which he demanded answers to.

“Now it appears that neither he, nor the Safeguarding Children Board, are at all keen that the answers should be made public.

“Well they simply can’t shuffle this between themselves and hope no one will notice the sleight of hand. This response will be made public one way or another.”

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