Solihull Council says it's 'not the time for blame' after Arthur Labinjo-Hughes review published

Nick Page, CEO of Solihull Council (left) Arthur Labinjo Hughes Credit: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Solihull Council says now is "not the time for blame" after an independent review into the case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has been published.

The six-year-old was subjected to a horrific campaign of abuse at the hands of his dad Thomas Hughes and his partner Emma Tustin.

He was murdered by his dad's partner at her home in Shirley in June 2020.

Tustin was jailed for a minimum of 29 years for his murder, while Hughes was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

The independent review highlights a need for a "clearer and sharper focus" on protecting children from significant harm.

The report also revealed recommendations for a "new approach to undertaking child protection work".

Arthur Labinjo Hughes

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has released a statement concerning Arthur Labinjo-Hughes which was published on their website on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

In it Nick Page, CEO of the council, said now time for "learning and sorting".

He said: "Arthur's brutal murder has devastated our community and there isn't any one of us that's not been horrified by this awful crime committed by the very people who should have protected and nurtured this little lad.

"Over the last few months we've had a group of national experts shine a light on what we have been doing in Solihull and understanding how we need to get better.

"And they have given us some really important areas to sort out.

"Within this they have also seen that our independently led improvement panel is doing the right thing by bringing all those different people together who have to safeguard and protect our children in Solihull. There's lots to do."

Mr Page also said that their social workers keep families together and they put families back together.

He also said he was proud that they have got "expert, dedicated and caring people" working with them and shared concerns about "abuse and threats" towards them has meant that some have had to leave their own homes.

He said: "My considered view is this now is not the time for blame, but it is most definitely the time for learning and sorting.

Professionals had only a limited understanding of what daily life was like for Arthur, the report says. Credit: West Midlands Police

"And also we need to think long and hard about how we support those and help those children and young people live happy and safe lives.

"How we get better at looking after children." 

West Midlands Police has also issued a statement concerning the review into Arthur.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell of West Midlands Police said: “The tragic death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has had a profound impact on so many people.

"We owe it to Arthur to not miss a single opportunity to learn from what happened to him so we can better protect children in the future.

“The report by the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel makes a number of important local and national recommendations that will help police and partners to work more effectively together. 

“We will continue to work with our partners to act on these recommendations, building on the progress we have already made to improve safeguarding for children across the West Midlands.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died at the hands of his father and stepmother after years of cruelty Credit: Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow/PA

"This includes investing additional resources into child safeguarding in Solihull, and improving the quality and management of information held on the force records management system to enable us to identify and manage risks more accurately and improve our ability to prevent and investigate crime.

“The report acknowledges the dedicated work of officers and staff who work in child protection, who face the most complex challenges.

"We are committed to ensuring they have the best training and support and are providing additional training across a range of vulnerability and safeguarding, including domestic abuse incidents.

"This will strengthen their ability to identify and protect children from all forms of cruelty and neglect.

“We know there is still more to do and we are determined to work collectively with partners to act upon the panel’s recommendations and make the changes needed to better safeguard children in the future.”