Mail on Sunday, 4th October 2009
By Eileen Fairweather
THE Government’s childcare watchdog has been heavily criticised after appointing to a senior post an official embroiled in a notorious paedophile scandal.
Ofsted has named John Goldup as its social care director – a job which gives him effective control of the protection of youngsters in care homes and nurseries across the UK.
At the time of his appointment, Mr Goldup said: I am absolutely convinced that effective inspection and regulation are the key to driving up improvement.
But during the Eighties and early Nineties, Mr Goldup was the second most senior figure in the children’s department at Islington Council in North London.
The council was savaged in a series of official reports after whistleblowers revealed how a child sex ring had operated throughout the borough’s care homes for a number of years.
An independent inquiry headed by Ian White – then director of social services in Oxfordshire – found that the council was in a deplorable state.
The report added: Line managers should have visited children’s homes, should have taken necessary action, should have spoken to children and … should have responded to allegations as serious as the ones made and now investigated.
Mr Goldup had left his post by the middle of 1994 and has spent the past 15 years with another London borough, most recently in charge of services for the elderly and disabled.
In 1992, the council was asked by police investigating the abuse allegations for paperwork relating to Nick Rabet, who helped run one of the homes. He was later exposed as a key organiser of the sex ring. Despite the existence of a number of documents raising concerns about him, in particular his unhealthy relationship with a 13-year-old boy, Rabet’s file had mysteriously disappeared.
At the same time, four staff who had raised concerns about the 58-year-old and other suspected paedophiles working in Islington’s homes were sacked, demoted or threatened.
Rabet killed himself in Thailand three years ago while awaiting trial there for child abuse. He was charged with molesting 30 underage boys and was believed to have abused up to 300 more.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Moore, of Sussex Police, which investigated Rabet, said Islington actively thwarted attempts in the early Nineties to bring Rabet and his cohorts to justice.
He said: If we’d had the usual co-operation that you expect and deserve from other agencies, it’s a very strong likelihood we would have got a conviction.
Clearly, if you don’t get that co-operation – and in this case we didn’t – you cannot get a case to put before the court, and justice was denied.
We are all in a position of trust and of trusting each other to do what’s right, but in this case that trust was abused.
When it was founded, Ofsted was responsible largely for school inspections. But in 2007, its remit was significantly extended to cover children’s social care and support services.
A spokesman for Ofsted said: John Goldup has a long and distinguished track record in delivering care services, most recently leading Tower Hamlets to an outstanding rating for its adult services for five years in a row.
There is nothing to question John Goldup’s integrity or his ability to fully and professionally carry out his role at Ofsted, a role he was appointed to following a fully independent and robust recruitment process.
The panel were fully aware of every aspect of his employment history throughout this process.
While allegations relating to Islington are ultimately a matter for the council, we are confident there is nothing to support suggestions that he acted, then or at any other time, in anything other than a professional manner.
Ofsted has full confidence in John in his vital new role as director of social care development.