Council head of children and families: 'Past practice fell well short of what was required and what we would now expect'

Colin Pettigrew
Colin Pettigrew

Here is what Colin Pettigrew, council chief for children and families had to say . . .

The county council accepts that its past practice fell well short of what was required and what we would now expect as a result, children in its care were subjected to sexual, physical and emotional abuse. For that I am deeply sorry.

The Inquiry heard from many victims and survivors who said that in the ‘70s ‘80s and ‘90s there were barriers to reporting their abuse. These included not being seen alone by their visiting social worker, not being believed and being in physical fear. Children now see their own social worker alone, and our systems and quality assurance processes check this to be the case. In addition, they have an independent social work officer who also sees them alone when their care plans are reviewed every few months and ensures they know how to raise concerns or complaints.

It is now easier for young people to report any concerns they have about their care. We are about launch a new app to ensure children feel they can speak out in confidence.

Children who go missing from care are seen and talked to on their return, by someone independent of the placement and all children in residential care have access to independent advocates employed by The Children’s Society.

The council has and will continue to support and cooperate with police operations, supporting victims before, during and after criminal trials to bring abusers to justice.

Practices have improved over time, but we will never be complacent and will continue to improve and strengthen safeguarding and protection of children in the care of this council.

The council welcomes any recommendations from the Inquiry that will help us to keep children and young people safe.