Baby P’s mother named her violent partner as her next of kin on an official form but authorities still failed to realise he was living with her, a previously secret report revealed today.
The toddler’s social worker was told Tracey Connelly had a boyfriend but did not ask who he was or request to meet him, according to a damning serious case review into the tragedy.
Baby P – now named as Peter Connelly – was just 17 months old when he died in Tottenham, north London, at the hands of his mother, her abusive partner Steven Barker and his brother, Jason Owen, in August 2007.
He suffered more than 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over an eight-month period.
The two serious case reviews into Peter’s death, published in full for the first time today, disclose that Connelly named Barker as her next of kin on health records in mid-2007 and described him as a friend.
The second report, commissioned after the first was judged by Ofsted to be “inadequate”, was scathing about social workers’ failure to quiz Peter’s mother about her boyfriend.
It said: “It would have been interesting to know whether Ms A (Connelly) would have refused the information and what it was thought to signify. She was not asked.”
The serious case reviews were published in full following pledges by Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians.
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said he wanted the release of the reports to bring “some form of closure” so everyone involved in the case could move on.
He added: “The Government’s commitment to publish full SCR (serious case review) overview reports has always been about transparency, so that vital information is made available, so that agencies can be held to account and lessons properly learned.”
The first Baby P serious case review, published in November 2008, was chaired by Sharon Shoesmith, who was later sacked as director of children's services at Haringey Council in north London over failings exposed by Peter's death.
It found “numerous examples of good practice” in the toddler’s care, although it also noted some weaknesses in information flow.
But Ofsted inspectors ruled this report was inadequate and former children’s secretary Ed Balls commissioned a fresh investigation.
The second serious case review was released in May last year to coincide with the sentencing of the trio responsible for Peter’s death.
It was far more critical, concluding that the tragedy “could and should have been prevented”.
The second report highlighted child protection officials' failure to establish Barker's identity, interview him and carry out background checks on him.
Connelly told social workers he was only a friend and was not left alone with Peter.
But Barker apparently accompanied her to hospital in April 2007 after the toddler suffered a head injury, and he was present when a family support worker visited Connelly at home two months later.
The report noted: “Hovering in the background to the situation is Mr H (Barker), the male friend of Ms A (Connelly).
“The nature of his relationship to Ms A is not known, the extent of his involvement with the household is also not known, and most importantly his possible criminal background, anti-social behaviour or general background, is not known.
“A man joining a single parent household who is unrelated to the children is well established in research as a potentially serious threat to the well-being of the children.
“He needs to be checked out and his involvement with and relationship to the children carefully assessed.”