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Independent investigation into past abuse in Islington Children's Care Homes'

Meeting: 28/09/2017 - Executive (Item 427)

427 Independent investigation into past abuse in Islington Children's Care Homes pdf icon PDF 279 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

An additional recommendation was agreed:

Recommendation 2.4:
To note that the Executive recognises that some children in Islington care had been subject to abuse during the 1970s, as well as the 1980s and early 1990s and to extend the apology given to all victims who suffered child abuse whilst in the borough’s care.

SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE ADDITION, THE RECOMMENDATIONS WERE AGREED.

Reason for decision – as specified in the report.

Other options considered - none.

Conflicts of interest/dispensations granted – none.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Richard Watts welcomed everyone present, particularly the members of the Islington Survivors Network and introduced the item with the following statement:

“Tonight’s meeting includes a report relating to abuse of children in Islington’s care homes in the 1980s and 1990s. It is no exaggeration to say that this was the darkest chapter in the council’s history. Children, placed in our care, were subjected to terrible physical and mental abuse which, understandably, has had a deeply traumatic effect on those who are now adults and continue to suffer.

As Leader of Islington Council I want to say again we are deeply sorry for the council’s past failure to protect vulnerable children. Although the word ‘sorry’ feels inadequate, I offer this apology to every single person who has been scarred by the events of that terrible time. Today it is our duty as a council to do the right thing and to try to address the failings of the past.  The report recommends that the Executive as a whole formally apologises for past failures, and I am sure all my colleagues will strongly support this recommendation.

In recent years, we have worked closely with many survivors of this abuse. We are grateful for the help we have received from the Islington Survivors Network, and for the support they offer to survivors. We also want to thank Liz Davies for her dedication to the survivors and for her ongoing work with the council.

The Council has helped people to report allegations to specialist police officers without the need to visit a police station.  We’ve also helped survivors to get extra priority for council housing, and advice about legal representation, and we are commissioning a specialist counselling service for abuse survivors.

The council appointed James Goudie QC and Holly Stout to examine the issues raised in May this year by the Islington Gazette about former mayor, Ms Sandy Marks.  We said at the time that they would be free to follow any line of inquiry they felt appropriate, and that the council would be bound by their recommendations. 

In 1995 the Council received a report of an investigation by Ian White and Kate Hart – known as the White Report – into the council’s management of allegations of abuse of children in Islington’s care.  This report is very much of its own time, and some of the language used is insensitive by today’s standards.  The report was deeply critical of the council and led to profound changes in the council’s management of childrens’ services.

Tonight, the Executive receives the Joint Opinion of James Goudie QC and Holly Stout as to whether the Islington Gazette’s information about Sandy Marks could reasonably be said to call into question the integrity of the White Report.  Their conclusion is that the new allegations do have an impact, albeit a limited one, and that a new, independent investigation should examine the issues the White Report would have covered had the allegations about Sandy Marks been known at that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 427