The publication of a report looking into the circumstances leading up to the death of a four-year-old Lancashire schoolboy killed in a deliberate flat fire has been delayed.
A Serious Case Review was ordered following the death of Jai Joshi, who lived with his dad Paresh Patel in Hutton, near Preston after the child died in a flat fire in Liverpool in May last year which was deliberately started by his mother who also died in the blaze.
Jai, who was a pupil at Howick CE Primary School, had been staying with his mother for a week of the Easter holidays but she failed to return him on the appointed day to his father who had full custody. Dad Paresh feels Jai was let down as despite him contacting social services, police and the courts repeatedly, Jai remained in his mother’s care for four weeks and missed two-and-a-half weeks of school before the deliberate blaze which claimed his life.
Paresh, a newsagent, is now fighting for changes to make court orders enforceable as he believes the authorities had a number of opportunities to remove Jai from his mother’s care before the tragedy happened.
The Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board asked the NSPCC to lead a Serious Case Review into Jai’s death.
The review set out to look into the involvement of all agencies who had contact with the family and make recommendations based on the findings. When completed, the report will be shared with Jai’s family and then published on the Safeguarding Board website. The review by the NSPCC was initially expected to be concluded by the end of December last year,
But now Jai’s family have been dealt a blow as they have been informed the publication of the review has now been delayed until spring.
Jai’s father Paresh today said: “It has been a bit confusing as the woman who was working on the Serious Case Review contacted me in November and told me that she was on target to complete the draft report. However, we then received a letter telling us that due to unavoidable circumstances, this woman is unable to continue with the review. But the letter stated that there was someone working with her and they are going to appoint him to complete the Serious Case Review and that it will now be April or May before the report is completed.This delay is frustrating, but the most important thing is making sure this Serious Case Review is done correctly.”
Jane Booth, independent chairman of the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Due to unavoidable circumstances the publication of this Serious Case Review has been delayed until spring.
“The reason for the delay has been explained to the family. I understand this means a longer wait for them, but I can give an assurance that the review is taking care to thoroughly establish all the available facts, including detailed interviews with staff from all agencies who had any contact with that child and their family.”