From the Editor - Haringey has a long way to go to regain trust

Like many journalists, one would rather avoid writing about the Baby P case.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

To have to learn any further details about the case itself makes the writer only too aware of how low mankind can sink. It is personally distressing and can shake one's faith in humanity itself.

But one senses this is a landmark story. It throws up fundamental questions about the way we run our society and the ways in which poor communication between professionals can lead to disasters of monstrous significance.

Over the past week we have seen blame thrown around. And while some are questioning whether certain media could be revelling in the furore, I would argue that most journalists are simply reflecting genuine public anguish and outrage. They are working at length to uncover the details because the most essential outcomes are that justice is done and, most importantly, we try to prevent this happening again. The media's role in society is to scrutinise those in positions of power and responsibility. And what responsibility can be more important than preventing the abuse of a baby?

Thankfully it is a sign of a healthy society that we all feel angry, upset and to some degree responsible for failing to protect an innocent, vulnerable child within our midst.

The so-called 'carers' must take full responsibility of course.

But equally Haringey Council clearly failed in many areas of its responsibility.

It ultimately failed because it allowed this to happen at all. It failed because processes were patently inadequate. And it failed from an external comms point of view, because when the story broke, it came across as distant and out of touch with the rest of us.

PRWeek's investigations suggest that comms staff must have known about the case months in advance of the news breaking, so why was the public response so dreadfully inadequate?

The official apology, for what it's worth, came a week after the story broke. Haringey must now improve all areas of its communication. Ultimately it must prove to us all that it is professional, thorough, and in control.


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