Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the government wants to see ‘how social services and the local authorities liaise’ and ‘what lessons further we can learn’
The government will launch an inquiry into the state of social services after the killing of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the Justice Secretary has confirmed.
Dominic Raab said he wants to see “what lessons further we can learn” after the abused youngster’s stepmother and father were jailed.
The investigation will involve police, schools, social services and probation watchdogs, The Sunday Times reported – and is intended to learn lessons from what happened.
It is likely to consider whether guidelines should be put in place to help protect at-risk youngsters in the event of future national lockdowns, the newspaper said.
It appears to go wider than a safeguarding review into the case launched locally.
Mr Raab gave few details when questioned on the move today by Sky News. However, asked if there would be an inquiry he replied: “Yes.”
Mr Raab explained: “As a father of young boys myself, let alone as Justice Secretary, I can’t begin to imagine how anyone could be that cruel.
“We’ve had those sentences for the two parents, the Attorney General’s made clear she wants to have them reviewed, where we have a mechanism for doing so.
“There will be a local safeguarding review, which will look a the local authority’s actions, whether any lessons could have been picked up earlier, whether any warning flags could have been put up earlier.
“And the Prime Minister’s made clear as well as that, we want to see how social services and the local authorities liaise with the criminal justice agencies and what lessons further we can learn.”
Arthur’s stepmother, Emma Tustin, 32, was jailed for life at Coventry Crown Court on Friday, with a minimum term of 29 years, after being found guilty of his murder, while his father, Thomas Hughes, 29, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.
Solihull’s Local Child Safeguarding Partnership launched an independent review after it emerged in court the boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.
Speaking on Friday during a campaign visit in Shropshire, the Prime Minister vowed to leave “absolutely no stone unturned” to establish what went wrong.
He said it was essential to learn lessons and to work out what else could have been done to protect the child.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi is due to make a Commons statement on the case on Monday.
On Saturday, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) confirmed Tustin and Hughes’ sentences are to be reviewed.
The AGO has 28 days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme, and make a decision as to whether to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal then makes a ruling on cases which have been referred.
A spokesperson for the AGO said: “The Attorney General’s thoughts are with those who loved Arthur. I can confirm that the sentences given to Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes have been referred to the Attorney General for review to determine whether they were too low.”
On Saturday, football fans applauded during the sixth minute of the West Ham vs Chelsea game as a picture of Arthur was shown on a screen.
More tributes were paid by Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City – while Aston Villa will do the same during Sunday’s clash with Leicester.