Learning reports into three Kettering domestic homicides have not seen light of day
The Domestic Homicide Reviews should have been made public to show any lessons learned by the authorities
By Sarah Ward
Reviews into the deaths of three Kettering people who died within their homes after suffering violence or neglect from another member of their household, have not been published by North Northamptonshire Council, contrary to government guidance.
NN Journal is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHR) have to be carried out by an area’s community safety partnership when someone dies in a domestic setting and it is suspected they died due to violence, abuse or neglect. The reviews look into whether agencies, such as the police, local authorities and health services had been involved with the deceased before their death and what support had been given.
In the year 2018/19 three DHRs were commissioned by the former Kettering Community Safety Partnership. Once finished they are approved by the Home Office and are supposed to be published by the CSP so that learnings can be shared.
However the North Northamptonshire Community Safety Partnership (which took over from the former Kettering Community Safety Partnership in 2019) has not published any of the reports, despite at least one being approved by the home office more than a year ago. None of the details of who was killed and when have been put into the public domain.
The page about the CSP on the council’s website is out of date and still has links to former safety partnerships run by obsolete councils.
Since the three DHRs were completed two more women, Marta Chmielecka and Maddie Durdant Hollamby, have been killed in the Kettering Borough. There are two current DHR’s into their deaths.
A spokesperson for the council said:
“The CSP is currently working to publish documents relevant to its work, which would include documents the partnership are [sic] obliged to publish, on the NNC website. This includes domestic homicide reviews. Work is underway to publish the documents online and update legacy content. This work is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
“The CSP recognises that it should publish reports arising from Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) once approved by the Home Office. Once the website pages are complete, the DHRs completed and approved so far will be published there as soon as possible.
“In the short term, as an interim solution, the CSP will provide copies of the reports to people and partners who request sight of them.
“The CSP board approves the DHR reports and executive summaries, prior to submission to the Home Office. Often the Home Office require certain edits and improvements to the reports and the independent chair of the report considers the recommendations. Once agreed, as a final report the CSP reports back to partners that the DHR is complete and the action plan will commence. The CSP Board monitors delivery of the action plans, sharing information with partners, where necessary.”
NN Journal asked to have a copy of completed DHR reports when we received this response yesterday but have not been provided with them as yet.
When contacted by NN Journal, Kettering Councillor Anne Lee said she was shocked to hear the reports had not been published by the unitary authority, which was set up on government orders last year.
She said: “Things should not get lost when authorities get reorganised.”
Since the authority formed, as has often been reported, there have been a number of complaints about how it is performing, and it is currently very short staffed and plugging jobs with agency staff.
The North Northamptonshire Community Safety Partnership is opaque and unlike in other areas, meets behind closed doors. It is made up of senior staff from the council, police, NHS trusts, the fire and probation services and its remit is to come up with ways to work together to protect their local communities from crime and to help people feel safer. It meets quarterly however its minutes are not in the public domain and it does not publish an annual report of its work.
The situation is the same in the West of the county as its CSP also meets in private.
Read other related stories from we have written about domestic abuse
NN Journal is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.