BOY RAPIST INQUIRY: Council chief steps taken to prevent a repeat

Coun Paul Watson Leader of Sunderlandf City  Council.'Official launch of the Sunderland Economic Masterplan
Coun Paul Watson Leader of Sunderlandf City Council.'Official launch of the Sunderland Economic Masterplan
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AGENCIES have already taken measures to avoid “sad cases” like this occurring again, it was claimed today.

Jan van Wagtendonk, the independent chairman of Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board, said the report into Child X revealed a number of failings, which the board now accepts.

He said: “I wish to express my regret that any young person has been subjected to a serious offence and that the offending behaviour was not prevented.

“This is a complex case, as can be seen by the many agencies who have been involved with Child X and the family in a number of geographical areas across the country. We accept the findings and the many recommendations it makes, all of which have been followed.”

Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council added: “This was a very sad case.

“We recognise the impact it has had both on those directly involved and on the wider community.

“As a council, we acknowledge that things could have been done better in this case.

“We’ve listened and learned from what went wrong and we’ve put in place a series of measures, including extra training, resources and investment.

“This is to help us make sure as far as possible that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

The council said every day it helps protect more than 1,000 vulnerable children in the city.

The council has seen a 90 per cent rise in cases referred to its Children’s Services Department as a result of the Baby P case, where a 17-month-old died in London in 2007.

Keith Moore, director of Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, added: “We have an absolute commitment to improving safeguarding issues in the city because that’s the most important thing to do, protect the children of Sunderland.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman added: “Northumbria Police is a committed partner in safeguarding children across the North East.

“Part of that commitment involves learning lessons when they are identified by serious case reviews.

“On this occasion specific recommendations to improve police services were made and they have been quickly implemented.

“We are confident in our system and process but are always willing to embrace change in order to improve.”