Cabinet members ‘not comfortable’ with top Tower Hamlets job for Pelka failings boss

Murdered schoolboy Daniel Pelka

Murdered schoolboy Daniel Pelka - Credit: Archant

A leading Tower Hamlets cabinet member has declared he “wouldn’t feel comfortable” working with a man who previously led the department that failed murdered schoolboy Daniel Pelka, after he was hired to safeguard the borough’s children.

Colin Green has been hired by Tower Hamlets local authority to chair its independent safeguarding children board - having earlier resigned from his post as director of children’s services at Coventry City Council.

His former department was criticised following the tragic death of four-year-old Daniel, who was starved and murdered by his mother and stepfather.

A serious case review found that Mr Green’s department missed key opportunities to intervene, adding that Daniel had become “invisible” to the authorities charged with protecting him. It identified 15 improvements for the department – but did not extend blame to police, the school, or social services.

Tower Hamlets’ cabinet member for children, schools and families, Cllr Oliur Rahman, has now raised concerns about the appointment, adding that he was abroad when the decision was made.

He said the revelations about Mr Green’s involvement in the failing department in Coventry came as a “shock and surprise to everybody”.

“I personally feel – whether it’s in Coventry or anywhere – people have to take responsibility, and if there were issues [that] could have been prevented there has to be responsibility,” he said.

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“As a cabinet member for children I wouldn’t feel comfortable working with somebody who was involved in such a horrific case.”

Cllr Rahman added that the local authority is taking the “necessary measures to address the issue” - with other councillors joining calls for action to be taken,

Liberal Democrat Stephanie Eaton said: “It cannot be right that the person who was responsible for coordinating the agencies that failed Daniel Pelka is now coordinating the safeguarding of children in Tower Hamlets.

“Full council should be provided with the details of what was known about the Daniel Pelka case at the time this appointment was made,” she added.

Daniel’s killing represented the culmination of a systematic campaign of abuse at the hands of his mother, Magdelena Luczak, and stepfather Mariusz Krezolek.

The schoolboy died of a head injury in March 2012, having previously had his arm broken and been starved to the extent that he raided school bins for food during playtimes.

Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson described the appointment of Mr Green by Tower Hamlets as “an affront to public opinion”.

A council spokesman said: “The multi-agency appointments panel sat in June 2013 and all appointment decisions are based on the merits of each applicant, their suitability for the post and information available at the time.”