There were a series of failings by Thurrock Council in the lead-up to the death of a toddler, a Serious Case Review has found.

The long-awaited report into the death of two-year-old "Sam" in January 2018 examines the care that was offered to her and her family by Thurrock Council Children’s Social Services department.

A serious case review, which is generally launched when a child is seriously harmed or dies as a result of abuse or neglect, came despite an inquest into the toddler's death that found no conclusive cause of death.

Police have also stated there were no suspicious circumstances.

The 31-page review was published on Thursday and notes there was a range of problems in the handling of the case, including there being “little coordinated oversight” in the case during the months before the child’s death.

It further describes there being a lack of attention paid to “how well this family was doing, what help they might be offered, and what their engagement or lack of it, meant for the risks to the children”.

In the months before the death, health visitors and educational staff began to “raise concerns” but “it took a total of six months before these were comprehensively assessed, with the eventual conclusion that social care intervention was appropriate”.

Other problems were linked to information not being shared between services and limited planning with the family. The report adds: “The case was managed over six years in a variety of different ways and without clear overall objectives which connected each separate intervention and linked separate episodes and plans together.

“This did not make it easy for mother and father to appreciate professionals’ concerns or to have a consistent framework within which to develop their parenting skills and confidence.”

Following the publication, the leader of Thurrock Council, Councillor Rob Gledhill said: “Any child death is a tragedy and a deep loss for the family to which we continue to offer our condolences. The SCR, based on the coroner’s report, concluded that the death was from ‘unrelated and unknown causes’, therefore no organisation or individual is responsible for the tragic death.

“Post-mortem investigations did not establish a cause of death, which was recorded as unascertained at inquest - this can also be known as unexplained death such as ‘cot death’ or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

“It was right to commission a SCR to review and identify any learning for the agencies working with the family. The report makes a number of recommendations and raises areas for improvement which includes better partnership working to support this family from when they became known to Children’s Services in Thurrock in 2012.”

He continued: “The cabinet member for social care has asked that this SCR report be referred to our Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, with a proposed action plan developed to ensure that the Thurrock Safeguarding Children’s Partnership is held to account and the recommendations in this report fully addressed.”

Councillor James Halden, who oversees social care, said: “An independent review of the Thurrock Safeguarding Children’s Partnership has already been commissioned and in my mind it is vital - we need to ensure the partnership has enough capacity, independent challenge and that it actions SCRs, or Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews as they are now known, quickly and robustly.

“This review of the partnership had already been agreed and is not a direct response to this or any other SCR.”