The 'system' and not individuals failed Hamzah Khan, review concludes

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Four-year-old Hamzah Khan's decomposed body was found in a cot almost two years after he died Photo: Police handout

It is always easy to apply hindsight, and in such a tragedy easy too to apportion blame.

But those who could or should have protected Hamzah Khan faced one of the toughest grillings I've witnessed in a while this morning from a roomful of journalists.

And as they unveiled the independent serious case review into Hamzah's death, the children's minister, Edward Timpson was also attacking them as well; writing to ask a series of questions which he said this review had failed to answer.

Edward's Timpson's letter to chair of the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board

This review concludes that it was the system which failed Hamzah Khan and not any individuals.

Systems was the buzz word of the morning: "Systems, systems systems"

"But surely systems are run by people and it is they who bear responsibility for the failure?", I asked Kath Tunstall, director of children's services in Bradford.

But she would not accept that any individual had failed.

Kath Tunstall speaking during a briefing for the publication of the serious case review into Hamzah Khan's death. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Rather, this SCR concludes that at no stage did anyone in Bradford's Children's Services have enough information to trigger further intervention, despite what reads like a litany of missed opportunities, according to the government.

This review concludes that Hamza remained "off the radar" because his mother would not engage consistently with health professionals, social workers, or police and concerns weren't great enough amongst any one person or agency to trigger intervention.

But the chair of Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, Professor Nick Frost, did concede, that if there had been more information sharing between different agencies, Hamza could - possibly have been saved.

"Then whose fault was it that more information wasn't shared?" I asked him.

His answer? "The system's."

No one wants a witch hunt, but the Government isn't satisfied with that answer, and I doubt many others will be either.

Watch Penny's report on today's developments: