No-one was disciplined over failings before death of Lucy McHugh

SOCIAL service employees and police staff involved in the shortcomings related to the death of Lucy McHugh were not disciplined, it has been revealed.

Southampton City Council has confirmed it did not suspend, sacked or disciplined any of the council employees involved in the case of the murdered 13-year-old.

Hampshire Constabulary said there was “no requirement found for disciplinary action” against police staff.

Both the council and the police said they have learned from the report and have taken action to improve.

But Southampton Itchen MP is urging civic chiefs to launch an inquiry to understand what went wrong, why and how.

The news comes as a report published earlier this week criticised officers for not delving deeper into the background of Lucy’s murderer Stephen Nicholson.

The report also revealed that city council teams did not act on information from Lucy’s school about her “involvement” with Nicholson.

Report writer Moira Murray said that if these processes were followed, this may have unearthed details about Nicholson’s sexual relationship with the teen – whose body was found in a wooded area of Southampton Sports Centre in July, 2018.

Mr Smith said the findings should now come under further scrutiny. He said: “I think there should be a full and frank inquiry into what went wrong so that the public can have confidence that this will not happen again. I think councillors should convene an inquiry into what happened. I want to see chapter and verse. At the moment they have just brushed it under the table. It seems odd that something has happened and no-one has been held accountable or responsible.”

He stressed that he is not calling for someone to be sacked or for sensitive information to be published. But he said there should be an inquiry..”

The council said that none of its employees was suspended, disciplined or sacked but that the council’s focus has been “on learning and changing” the way it operates “when dealing with highly complex cases such as this”.

Council leader Christopher Hammond said: “A full and frank inquiry is exactly what we’ve just had. Over the last two years an independent expert has interviewed everyone involved, analysed the information, identified improvements and come up with recommendations. The council’s own children and families scrutiny panel will have a session in December where it will have oversight of the report. ” Hampshire Constabulary said it has taken action to improve the way referrals are made and it has set up a scrutiny panel.

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