An inquiry has started into the death of a seven-year-old girl alleged to have starved to death at her Birmingham home.

The Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, which considers every child death, met Friday morning to discuss Khyra Ishaq, who died in hospital last Saturday.

Following the multi-agency meeting, the board said: "Any child’s death is a tragedy and our thoughts are with Khyra’s family and friends at this difficult time.

"Following a meeting this morning the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) have now commenced a serious case review, an independent examination into the circumstances surrounding the death of Khyra."

The statement, released by Birmingham City Council, continued: "Local Safeguarding Children Boards have a statutory duty to review all child deaths, particularly those that appear to be due to abuse or neglect.

"We have started this process, however the BSCB are mindful of the ongoing criminal and coroner’s investigations.

"The full report of this serious case review will be sent to the Department for Children, Schools and Families and Ofsted for scrutiny. The findings of this review will be made public in due course following the completion of the criminal process."

Police are still awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination on Khyra’s body, but sources have said the youngster is believed to have died of starvation.

She and her five siblings are reported to have been in an emaciated state when paramedics were called to their home in Leyton Road, in the Handsworth area of Birmingham.

It has also been claimed that some of the children may have eaten scraps of bread left out for birds in their neighbour’s garden.

The decision to launch a serious case review comes after Birmingham City Council was branded "heartless" by a local MP.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood accused the council of taking a "head-in-the-sand approach" and said it needed to do more to reassure the local community.

The Birmingham Perry Barr MP added: "A huge tragedy has taken place. All of us need to get together and resolve this - it’s not about them and us."

Mr Mahmood told reporters on Wednesday that the siblings were removed from school by their mother 10 weeks ago following claims of bullying.

The MP has been told an educational social worker paid a visit to the family home but no further follow-up checks took place.

More flowers were left outside the boarded-up house in Leyton Road on Friday.

One message from a group of boys from nearby Handsworth Grammar School read: "Khyra – another little angel in heaven I’ve known by name. Rest in peace."

Another read: "What kind of world do we live in? Does nobody care anymore? Where people turn a blind eye to what’s going on.

"I don’t know this little girl but when I saw the news I had to put some flowers here."

Angela Gordon, 33, and Junaid Abuhamza, 29 – Khyra’s mother and her partner – have appeared in court charged with causing or allowing her death through neglect.

Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "A serious case review into the death of Khyra Ishaq has been officially started after a meeting of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, an independent, cross-agency body.

"A serious case review will always be conducted when a child dies and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor.

"The death of Khyra Ishaq is however the matter of a criminal and coroner’s investigation and therefore the BSCB will not impede or compromise these investigations."

Pupils and teachers at Khyra’s school, Grove Primary School in Handsworth, are being supported by city council psychologists, the spokesman added, and efforts have been made by the council to update and reassure Mr Mahmood.

Child protection agencies in Birmingham will conduct internal management reviews as part of the inquiry.

The council spokesman said: "As part of the formal processes, each service involved in child protection, both within the council and other public agencies, will be carrying out an internal management review.

"This is partly to provide information to other investigations but equally importantly it is to find out if there are any gaps in the processes, procedures or guidance which could have made a difference.

"If any are found, immediate changes will be made without waiting for the findings of the investigations.