I recently received this letter from Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families. Mr Timpson appears to miss the point entirely – he says he does not think that ‘mandatory reporting would necessarily have helped in the Daniel Pelka case and, by implication, in many others’… he says he does not ‘believe a shift to mandatory reporting would make it easier for professionals to identify the signs of abuse and neglect’.
Surely the point is that staff at Daniel’s school identified and internally documented his abuse – but they failed to report it.
Serious case reviews show time after time that staff are aware abuse is occurring and yet they fail to report it.Mr Timpson goes on to assert his confidence in the ‘expectation and accountability provided by the existing guidance’.
We know there is no accountability at all in ‘existing guidance’.
I am disappointed with the continued opposition, but interested to observe that Mr Timpson finally appears to have abandoned his previously standard reference to guidance as statutory – which is an oxymoron, as Geoffrey Robinson MP explained to Parliament ‘it can be guidance or it can be statutory, it cannot be both’.
This, at least, is a movement of sorts.