THE DEATH of a ten-week-old baby boy has led to questions as to whether he was failed by social services.
An inquest into the child's death heard he was rushed to St Mary's Hospital shortly after 5.30pm on November 19, last year, after he was found to be unresponsive.
The child, who the County Press has decided not to name, was pronounced dead later that day.
Police have said the death is not being treated as suspicious and no arrests have been made. The inquest has been adjourned to a date to be fixed.
Concerns about the boy's death were raised at Tuesday's meeting of the children and young people scrutiny panel, during a debate about Ofsted's damning report into the Isle of Wight Council's child protection services.
Cllr Chris Welsford said he had been informed a baby had died on October 18, despite a claim from Cllr Barry Abraham, during a debate on the same report at last month's full council meeting, that no child had died.
"If members are not aware, it's extremely regrettable. Should members be informed of such an event in light of the Ofsted report?" he said.
Social care director Ian Anderson said: "There is no record of a child dying on October 18 that was involved in social care. I do not know the source of Cllr Welsford's information but it is not correct."
However, it is believed the child Cllr Welsford was referring to was the same child who died on November 19.
When asked yesterday (Thursday) if the child had been referred to the council's social care service, Mr Anderson said: "Any child death is a tragedy and it is important grieving parents, siblings and families are treated with sensitivity and respect. For this reason we will not comment on individual cases.
"There are statutory guidelines that determine the processes for both child death reviews and serious case reviews, which include notifications to government offices as required.
"We are confident these processes have been complied with in respect of any child deaths. The purpose of such reviews is to learn lessons in order to improve the health, safety and well being of children, the processes are not about culpability and blame."
Just hours later, at a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee, Isle of Wight Council chief executive Steve Beynon finally confirmed that a Serious Case Review (SCR) by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) was underway.
Mr Beynon said: "The process of an SCR is to confirm what happened, there is always as SCR review if there is a death or an unexplained injury."
The LSCB guidance on SCRs sets out in detail however, the circumstances in which such reviews are appropriate.
It states that as well as being launched in cases when a child has died, and abuse or neglect are known or suspected — factors understood not to have been involved in this case — an SCR "should be considered if a case gives rise to concerns about the way in which local professionals and services have worked together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This includes inter-agency and/or inter-disciplinary working."
In 2009, there were questions over the handling of an SCR into the death of a baby in 2007.
The report was branded inadequate by Ofsted, but only came to light following inquiries by the County Press, prompting some councillors to raise concerns they had been kept in the dark.