Ex-Haringey PRO recalls Climbié

Haringey’s PR chief during the public inquiry into Victoria Climbié’s death bemoaned how the borough has struggled to shake off its ‘Climbié Council’ media tag.

Kate Robertson, now at Enfield Council, told delegates to PRWeek's conference how Haringey needed to rebuild its reputation: 'It needs to identify every opportunity to sell its "improvement journey", and find human stories to sell improvements.'

Reflecting on Haringey's handling of the aftermath of eight-year-old Climbié's death, Robertson said: 'We all fell into the blame game – there were so many agencies involved.'

But she added: 'Saying "sorry" did genuinely work – it deflected anger that was coming our way.'

Climbié's death in 2000 prompted the most extensive inquiry ever into the child protection system.

Lamenting a lack of PR staff, Robertson admitted: 'We underestimated the resources needed – we had just three press officers and me, and that was not enough.'

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