Derby house fire: There are no immediate lessons to be learnt from Philpott tragedy, say social services

 

A preliminary inquiry by social services into the fire deliberately started by the parents of six children at their home found that no immediate lessons could be learnt from the tragedy.

Derby Safeguarding Children Board said it would continue a serious case review into the fatalities which is expected to report back in the summer.

Among the questions due to be considered was the level of information sharing between police, doctors, teachers and social workers who had contact with the family.

Both Mairead and Mick Philpott attempted suicide in the wake of Mr Philpott’s lover Lisa Willis’s decision to leave the house three months before the blaze.

It also emerged that Mr Philpott had a history of violence dating back to a 1978 attempted murder conviction and that his relations with women – some of them underage – were uniformly characterised by violence. At the time of the fire he was on bail after admitting a road rage attack.

In a statement Andrew Bunyan, strategic director of children and young people for Derby City Council said none of the children were subject to child protection plans or legal orders.

“Whenever a serious case review is initiated, questions are asked about whether there are immediate changes that need to be made to the way local services operate to safeguard children.  There have been no urgent recommendations emerging from this review,” he added.

In 2010 a serious case review carried out into 11 men convicted of sexually exploiting teenage girls – two of whom were in local authority care in Derby - found that opportunities had been missed.

The summary of the report said: "Had there been earlier, concerted intervention in their lives to address their unmet needs it is likely that they would have been less vulnerable as adolescents and therefore less likely to be abused.”

Former Tory minister Anne Widdecombe, who appeared in a television reality programme alongside the Philpotts, said suggestions social services should have done more were unfair.

"Yes, they were living a most irregular lifestyle, yes he was lazy and workshy but I didn't see any indication, admittedly I was only there briefly, but I didn't see any indication that the children were in any sort of danger," she said.

The charity Action for Children said it was time for the laws governing criminal child neglect to be updated. At present police can only intervene when there is evidence of physical rather than emotional harm to young people.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk