"A failure to challenge an independent social worker’s report was a key error in a case where a father beat his four-year-old daughter to death after she was sent to live with him."
"The serious case review into the murder of Alexa-Marie Quinn, called Sophie in the report, found social workers in Bedford were confused about the status and function of the court-ordered report and so did not challenge it."
"Social workers also felt unable to delay the case when new concerns emerged because the care proceedings had already exceeded the 26-week target for cases to be decided."
"Bedford Council put Quinn and her siblings into foster care in March 2012 due to their mother’s chaotic lifestyle, substance misuse and domestic violence at home."
"When care proceedings began Quinn’s father, Carl Wheatley who lived in Hertfordshire, said he wanted to be his daughter’s carer. While assessments of his suitability took place, contact was established between him and his daughter for the first time since shortly after her birth..."
"The court appointed an independent social worker to assess Wheatley’s parenting capacity."
"But the letter of instruction for the independent social worker’s report did not include all the concerns raised in Bedford’s initial assessment of Wheatley despite being approved by social services and the Cafcass children’s guardian."
It was only going to be a matter of time before the 26 week target was going to cause serious problems.