Arthur Labinjo Hughes: Solihull Council reacts to child protection review

Solihull Council responds to review which finds family members were ignored and highlights number of local children at risk and that social workers have been forced out of their homes due to abuse

The much-anticipated review into the death of Arthur Labinjo Hughes has been released today (Thursday, May 26).

The report looked into the circumstances of Arthur’s death along with sixteen month-old Star Hobson from Bradford, who was also murdered by his parent’s partner.

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In both cases The Child Protection Safeguarding Practice Review Panel found that concerns raised by wider family members were “too often” disregarded and not properly investigated.

It has recommended dedicated multi-agency teams staffed by experienced child protection professionals be set up in every local authority area to investigate allegations of serious harm to children.

And called on the Government to establish a national child protection board to better co-ordinate child protection policy.

Arthur was murdered by his father’s partner, Emma Tustin while his father, Thomas Hughes, was found guilty of his manslaughter, after encouraging the killing.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

Solihull Council CEO Nick Page has responded to the findings in a video posted at the top of this story.

His comments highlight that one in 25 of the 48,000 children that live in Solihull are at risk of serious harm.

This is below the national average announced by the NSPCC, which finds that across England one in 10 children are at risk.

Mr Page has praised Solihull’s 120 social workers, but said that some social workers have been forced to flee their homes due to abuse in the last six months.

Solihull Council House

What has Solihull Council CEO Nick Page said about the Arthur Labinjo Hughes review in his own words?

You can hear his full response to the report in the video posted at the top of our story and read a selection of the comments below.

Mr Page said: “Arthur’s brutal murder has devastated our community and there hasn’t been anyone who hasn’t been horrified by this awful crime committed by the very people who should’ve protected and nurtured this little lad.

“Over the last few months we’ve had a group of national experts shine a light on what we’ve been doing in Solihull and understanding how we can get back to being better and they’ve given us some really important areas to sort out.

“Within this they’ve also seen that our independently led improvement panel is doing the right thing by bringing all those different people together who have to safeguard and protect our children.

“There’s lots to do.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes subjected Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to a campaign of abuse and neglect (image: West Midlands Police/PA)

“When children talk to us they say they expect, and they deserve, to be safe and happy and they expect us to be expert, dedicated and caring.

“When I go out with our social workers I’ve seen a vulnerable mum, her daughter - coming back together again - because the social worker has helped the mum live with her grandparents, so they’ve got this amazing family group and that little girl is just flying.

“I’ve seen three primary aged brothers and sisters come back home to their mum and their nan whereas previously after school they would go into separate care homes.

“Our social workers, they keep families together and they put families back together again as well.

“I also need to say what I see that’s going on in our communities. We have 48,000 children in Solihull. And I want you to imagine that they could all get inside a big city football ground and most of them live happy and safe lives.

“But when I read reports from the NSPCC I read, perhaps, see one in every 10 children, possibly, are at risk of some form of abuse.

“And I look at the numbers of children we’re working with and we’re working with one in every 25 children in Solihull.

“When I talk about this I’m talking about children who live with the risk of threat, violence, hate, abuse and some, a small number, that’s their daily grim reality.

“This needs talking about. This needs explaining.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

“We have 120 social workers in Solihull. When I talk with one of the experts that’s come in to help us, she describes their work, social work, like it’s making a really difficult jigsaw puzzle with some of the pieces missing.

“And not only are they doing that difficult jigsaw they’re also doing perhaps another 15 or 20 at the same time with pieces missing as well.

“What we are clear about is that social work, being a social worker, is one of the most caring, yet hardest vocations  to do.

“And I’m proud that we’ve got experts and caring and dedicated people working with us here.

“But I feel concerned over the last six months because the level of abuse and threats towards them has meant that some have even had to leave their own homes - with their family, their children and their partners

“This can’t be right. So my considered view is this: now is not the time for blame but it is the time for learning and sorting.

“And also we need to think long and hard about how we support those children and young people to live happy and safe lives.

“How we get better at looking after our children.”

Solihull Council CEO Nick Page

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