Calls for sackings of council chiefs over child sex abuse in care system

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The leader of a support group for child sexual abuse victims called for “change at the top” of a council that was responsible for their care.

Mandy Coupland criticised Nottingham City Council at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the BBC has reported.

Ms Coupland, co-founder of Nottingham Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Group, told IICSA the city council had lost the trust of people who had been abused and “there need to be some resignations”.

The inquiry heard the council said it would only apologise “when there’s something to apologise for” at a meeting in February.

It eventually apologised publicly last month.

The inquiry is continuing at the Oval in London this week.

On Wednesday (October 24) Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner Paddy Tipping gave evidence to the inquiry, the BBC reported.

Mr Tipping used to be a social worker, and two Beechwood complainants said they couldn’t disclose abuse to him because he was unapproachable.

He replied; “I’m disappointed, sorry and apologise if that’s the case”

He said he was aware of tremendous pressures on Operation Daybreak, and used to press the Chief Constable on resources.

He said “it was coping and getting by”. Asked if that was good enough, he replied “I don’t really think so”

Mr Tipping told the hearing “there’s an awful long way to go” to provide services for victims and survivors.

He said the challenge is to provide counselling and support to victims over a long period.

He said austerity made it difficult to get funding.

Paddy Tipping said that councils opposed his call for an independent inquiry into abuse allegations at children’s homes, because it might damage Nottingham’s reputation. Asked if he thought that was at the expense of children, he said: “I have made my position clear.”

The hearing heard from Nottingham City Councillor David Mellen.

Coun Mellen said he was shocked to visit a children’s home with barbed wire. Another kept showers locked to stop children stealing shampoo. He said: “They were shocking things”

He aid the authority should have apologised earlier for abuse in care and it was “offensive” to tell survivors the council’s leader “will apologise when there’s something to apologise for” in February this year.

Stuart Brook, former social services director accepted that “Children’s services were failing children in the care of the county” when he took charge in 1994.

He said: “I believe there was significant risk in the system”

Stuart Brook told the inquiry that improvements to care services were hampered by local opposition to new children’s homes.

He said he wasn’t always informed about allegations that children were abused in care, unless they were likely to attract publicity.

He said that trade unions hampered progress, and “represented staff so energetically that it was at the expense of putting children first”.

He added that one social worker gave a friend access to children. He was later charged with child sex abuse.

After the hearing, there was loud applause from survivors in the public annex, when campaigner Mickey Summers called for the immediate removal of City Council leader, Jon Collins, and two senior Nottingham City Council officials