Beware of the Bishop (15.04.79) Bishop Gleaves
16.11.1979: The Mayor of Islington’s Chauffeur
September 1981: CAPM two day conference at City University with John Lindsay of Socialist Workers Party – Paedophilia & Public Morals is being sold/circulated
In (Monday 21st before Friday 26) February 1982 NALGO staff at children’s homes Highbury New Park and Sheringham Road walked out on strike1 — ostensibly in support of a housing official who had been suspended — but they have a grievance of their own on staffing ratios.
Chairman of Social Services Committee: Cllr Mrs Audrey Bayliss:
“The majority of staff in our residential homes are remaining at their posts because they are dedicated individuals who will not abandon the vulnerable people they are looking after.”
“Only political fanatics could walk out at the drop of a hat leaving children to fend for themselves. They are completely and utterly irresponsible. It’s a jolly good job that we have senior management prepared to go in and take their places.”
NALGO representative Dave Burn was of the opinion the strike was about the closure of Highbury New Park (7 children, 12 staff)
By Friday 12th March after 3 weeks of striking, town hall trade unionists lost the Secretary of the Islington branch of NALGO for the past 15 years – Bob Ford, unhappy about the way in which his more militant colleagues had handled the strike, resigned. Councillors were concerned he could be replaced by a ‘hard-line left winger’ – Children’s home superintendent Mr Peter McGeer had already challenged his leadership in November 1981.2
1 In-Care kids abandoned by strike staff, Islington Gazette, 26 February 1982, p.2
2 Strike sequel: ‘I quit’ says NALGO leader by Chris Goodall , front page Islington Gazette 12 March 1982
Cllr Anne Page alleged a cover-up over an £800,000 deal to improve child/staff ratios in children’s homes was a direct result of negotiations between Vic and his brother Pete.
SSD director John Rea Price had objected to going ahead with plans for a £3,670 continental holiday for the residents and staff of Sheringham Road.
On 8th March 1983 George Cunningham MP noted in the House of Commons:
“There was the trip to Italy by children in council care and the social workers, of course, in charge of them. The trip greatly exceeded the council’s own guidelines for the cost of such holidays. An internal audit showed that there had been irregularities in money control in the home in question. The deposit for the trip was paid in cash and in spite of a committee decision that it should not take place the decision was overturned when the staff took the matter to the Labour group. The staff accompanying the children had the gall to claim hundreds of pounds in sleeping away allowance because they were in Italy looking after the children.”1
Islington Gazette, 22nd September 1983: Big hunt for runaway boy
Labour Councillors investigate Ireland
A delegation of Lonodnn Borough Councillors travel to Ireland on a fact-finding mission in mid-May 1984 – largest contingent from Hackney with 7 councillors alone
From Islington Labour Group
Val Veness (Deputy Leader)
Alan Clinton (Chief Whip)
Chris Colman (calnan?)
Irish Democrat June 1984 p.4 Dublin Correspondence
11.01.1985: Arcade men deny abduction
Islington Gazette, 18th January 1985 Arcade boss is jailed for abducting girls
Scandal of brothel kids (14.2.86), Daily Mirror
Children were being prostituted, at least forty, some as young as seven were being prostituted across three premises on the [Elthorne] Estate, Archway. A tenant had included in a detailed file, tape recordings of children screaming while abused. His letter said: “I think it is dreadful to think child prostitution of this violent kind can occur on this scale.”
Dickens was calling on Home Secretary Douglas Hird to prepare a full report
Scotland Yard were investigating.
Mr Dickens said: ‘My informant, whose name I shall, of course, keep secret, has told me that some 40 children are involved.
‘He has passed on to Scotland Yard tapes purporting to depict the voices of children clearly taking part in unsavoury activities.
‘Scotland Yard has told me it is treating these allegations seriously. I hope that urgent action will be taken to stamp out this evil trade.’
The man who attacked Geoffrey Dickens over Islington ‘child brothels’ claims was a paedophile activist
Boy prostitution – SSD ‘unaware’ (22.05.86) Abraham Jacob
13 year old Tony McGrane is murdered
Booze probe kids’ home closed (12.02.88), Islington Gazette
Five children from Highbury New Park were sent to other homes as a result of an incident. “At least one member of staff is reported to have been injured when fighting broke out after a drinking session.”
Cllr Gerry Southgate, spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats on the Social Services Committee: “I am concerned that the system of control has broken down as a result of the delegation to neighbourhood offices. We need a full public statement to ally understandable public concern.”
Islington’s “kids on wheels” minicab service (01.06.89), Islington Gazette
Kenneth McCullum, 47, Stonenest Street, Finsbury Park was convicted of pimping runaway boys some as young as 13 and eventually sentenced for three and a half years.
Police group in Freemasons row (22.06.89), Islington Gazette
Leading members of Islington Council’s police consultative group refused to approve of policy requiring police to declare if they were freemasons.
Co-opted member Kathy Hobdell of Islington Victim Support Scheme was particularly against it.
Derek Sawyer Chairman of the consultative group: “It’s very important that people should be seen to above board when making statements and taking decisions affecting public life.” “That’s lucky for some people.”
25th January 1990: Two face child porn charges (Islington Gazette)
Dr Morris Fraser of PIE moved to Northchurch Terrace, Islington during the late 1970s. In 1990 he is charged with Protection of Children Act offences (indecent images of children) alongside Gloucestershire man Nicholas Reynolds.
Liz Davies and David Cofie, senior Islington social workers, uncover evidence of sexual abuse of children, and report it to a Neighbourhood Forum which council leader Margaret Hodge attends as ward councillor.
Crime Check delay ‘putting kids at risk’ (22.02.1990) Islington Gazette p.12
Chief Inspector Don McKay
Islington police consultative group (led by Derek Sawyer?) agreed to write to the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner expressing concern.
Fix it for me, begs Jim! (08.03.90), Islington Gazette
In 1990 Jimmy Savile opened Orchard Close in Morton Road, a development for specially adapted homes for disabled Islington residents. Savile had special Fix It badges made to present saying “Islington fixed it for me”.
He said: “I receive around 20,000 requests a year to go to places and do things but I got incredible vibes from this invitation. You hear a lot of adverse publiclity about the London boroughs but Islington Council has rubbed an Aladdin’s lamp and transformed the area into something beautiful which will give people a lot of happiness and contentment that would otherwise be missing from their lives. I’d like to stand on top of the highest building in Islington and tell everyone to come and have a look. I just wish we could built another million.” He added: “When can I move in? It’s much better than my gaffe in Regent’s Park”
22.03.1990: Islington Gazette Sex romps scandal at kid’s home
29.03.1990: No blame on staff for kid’s case sex scandal
05.04.1990: Sentence on kid’s home sex boy
The memo that proves Margaret Hodge knew about Islington child abuse in April 1990: “We need to explore the real possibility of sex ring functioning in this area”
23 April 1990: David Cofie and Liz Davies put forward a memo to the Irene Watson Neighbourhood Forum, located in Tollington ward:
“As social workers we wish to draw the attention of the Forum to a problem we have identified. Children age 9-16 years are very much at risk in this Neighbourhood through sexual exploitation. We can immediately mention 14 such children mainly under 14 years old.
These children have suffered rejection by their families and some are in care. They have strong peer group networks in the local area. They all roam the streets at night and most are into petty crime. They repeatedly come to the attention of local police. These children have all the preconditions for being sexually abused. They are emotionally desperate and in poverty.
Recently certain cases of sexual exploitation of this group have come to our attention and our Child Protection Procedures have been put into action.
However, this problem cannot be dealt with solely on an individual basis. Some children have close contact with their social workers but others are sadly unallocated or beyond reach.
In conjunction with the Child Protection Coordinator and Islington Police Child Protection Team we are setting up a meeting with two other neighbourhoods to examine this issue locally. We need to explore the real possibility of sex ring functioning in this area.”
April 1990: Hodge memos Cofie’s boss, John Rea Price, the director of social services:
“David Cofie raised the issue of sexual abuse among eight-to 16-year-old children. He is clearly concerned. However, simply requesting more resources is not responsible for a manager given the concern of members at the state of the social services budget. I expect more appropriate responses from people in management positions in social services”.
May 1990: At a key meeting chaired by Lyn Cusack, assistant director of social services, Cofie and Davies are told to cease interviewing children and to stop convening child protection conferences
13.12.1990: Sad case of boy’s adoption
1991: Roy Caterer, who worked at a school used by Islington council for its children in care, is arrested for sexually abusing seven boys and two girls, and is jailed for seven-and-a-half years. Cofie and Davies ask social services for resources to help the victims, but receive no reply
1992: Mr Panton raised his case again with Stephen Twigg, then an Islington councillor, and now minister for schools and a colleague of Ms Hodge at the Department for Education and Skills. In 1996 Mr Twigg, who has also worked as Ms Hodge’s parliamentary assistant, told the press he wished he had “taken it up in a more active way at the time” and admitted his failure to raise the case with Ms Hodge “may be a criticism of me”.
Islington Council were trying to save £583,00 in the social services department.
Social worker warned the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee: “There’s no doubt about it – if these proposals go ahead, there will be a disaster.” “Management are trying to reduce the duty time but increase the workload.”
“Pools” of social workers will work in new zones to cover understaffed neighbourhood offices.
Liz Davies resigns and takes her information to Scotland Yard
Aids leaflet critics are out of touch (13.02.92) p.4
Cllr Sandy Marks, who has four children, believes that the booklet could save lives. A former Chairwoman of Islington’s social services said: “It’s a typical Tory attitude that if you don’t tell ’em they won’t do it. I’d far sooner they were given the information so that they can take precautions than end up with the nightmare of nursing them through AIDS.”
Lib Dem Cllr Stephen Hitchins objected to a section of it that gave information about the effect of two drugs on sexual intercourse.
Cllr Marks said: “Drugs use among young people is on the increase. Last year there was a 98% increase in the number of heterosexuals with AIDS. Young people need clear information and this is central to good sex education. They will make their own choices. We want these choices to be safe ones.”
During April Peter Righton’s post is intercepted at Dover Customs
23rd April 1992: ‘Wicked’ doctor took dirty pictures of young boys (Islington Gazette)
24th April 1992: Proof that Islington Council ignored request to help with police investigation of Nick Rabet in April 1992
“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.” [Top OFSTED job for council official embroiled in council child sex scandal – 04.10.2009]
In May Peter Righton’s home is raided.
17th September 1992: Child care expert fined over photos of naked boys (The Independent, Chris Mowbray)
Peter Righton fined £900 on Wednesday 16th September.
TUESDAY 6 October 1992
A Standard investigation reveals that a 15-year-old girl worked as a prostitute from a council home; a 16-year-old was made pregnant at a teenage unit by a man suspected of involvement in a child sex ring; a girl was knifed by a pimp at an Islington home; and a boy was abused for years by a volunteer instructor
Wednesday 7 October 1992
Shane’s story: How Islington hindered a police inquiry into a former worker a boy in care and a pornographer (7.10.92)
Minister acts over our child abuse revelations (7.10.92), Evening Standard
HEALTH SECRETARY Virginia Bottomley today ordered Islington Council to provide a swift response to the ‘serious and worrying allegations’ of abuse revealed in an Evening Standard investigation into its children’s homes.
“The council also issued a statement from Labour councillor Sandy Marks, who chairs the social services committee.
This ignores the central concerns raised by yesterday’s articles but takes issue on several points of detail. It says:
* ‘The circumstances of these young people are known to us and have been the subject of casework or detailed investigation.’
We reply: We do not dispute this. But, as the children’s stories showed, it was clearly ineffective. Some of our sources were involved in this casework and appealed to us because they felt it had not been resolved properly.
* ‘All our homes are inspected monthly and reports provided to management and councillors.’
We reply: We do not challenge the regularity of inspections, merely their efficiency.
* ‘The Standard has been asked for three months to furnish us with any new evidence. They have singularly failed to do so.’
We reply: We completed our inquiries and gave the council two weeks to prepare their reply. We do not claim to have found ‘new evidence’. What we have done is to expose how Islington failed to act properly on the evidence already given by parents, children and worried staff.
* ‘Neville Mighty, a key informant of the Standard, was the subject of allegations of gross sexual misconduct by young people in his care, was investigated and subsequently dismissed.’
We reply: Mighty was charged with sexual harassment but was found guilty only of using inappropriate language of a sexual nature. The matter is now under appeal. Twelve members of staff gave evidence on his behalf, including nine women. He is only one of our many sources.
* ‘The case of Roy Caterer was the subject of a Hertfordshire police investigation. No evidence or information was passed to the council.’
We reply: This is clearly wrong. Caterer was only imprisoned for sexually abusing children in care when a determined Islington social worker found some of his victims and went to local police. They liaised with Hertfordshire police. That social worker wrote a report for her superiors and no action was taken on it.
Councillor Marks also claimed children interviewed by the Standard were paid.”
Thursday 8 October
Mrs Hodge and lies (8.10.92), Evening Standard
“On one radio programme she [Hodge] alleged that reporters “sat outside children’s homes” attempting to bribe children with sums of £50.”
Hodge resigns within 48 hours of the Evening Standard going to press as a councillor, council leader and as leader of the Association of London Authorities and Vice-Chair of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities.
All-party backing for inquiry on child abuse (8.10.92), Evening Standard
Bottomley has asked her watchdog body the Social Services Inspectorate to give her a full report “as soon as possible.”
Islington North’s Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: “The allegations are extremely serious and must be properly investigated.”
Interviewed on the BBC TV programme Newsroom South East former [Islington] social worker Anne Goldie supported the claim that the council management has ‘covered-up’ allegations of sex abuse.
08.10.1992: ‘No sex in our kids homes’, Islington Gazette
“That’s rubbish” said Lyn Cusack, Assistant Director of Social Services “A large amount of children who come into our care already have drink or drugs problems and gross emotional disturbance.”
Sandy Marks, Social Services Chairwoman: “It is as if the kids who come into our homes turn from well-behaved little angels to prostitutes who use drugs and get drunk every night.”
Friday 9 October
QC calls for inquiry into child abuse (9.10.92), Evening Standard,
Stewart Payne, Eileen Fairweather & Paul Cheston
“Brian Gardner, head of the local government union Nalgo in Islington, said: “The union supports a full and independent inquiry into any home about which there have been allegations.””
Elizabeth Lawson QC “believes only an investigation led by someone from outside Islington can guarantee protection for Islington staff and children who make serious allegations.”
“Islington proposes that its response be written by someone “independent of the social services department” but still a council official.”
Monday 12 October
Pressure on Mrs Hodge in childcare crisis (12.10.92), Evening Standard
Hodge is stepping down as Leader at the next full Council meeting on 22 October. Lib Dem opposition have tabled a resolution deploring her cavalier attitude to shooting the messenger and denouncing the Standard as ‘gutter journalism’.
Wednesday 14 October
Islington ‘covering up’ child abuse scandal (14.10.92), Evening Standard
Opposition Lib Dem Cllr Chris Pryce was surprised to find the Policy and Resources Committee did not have the child abuse scandal on the agenda.
Pryce: “The shocking disclosures are a talking point among social workers and concerned people around the world, but back in Islington they don’t even merit a mention. I’m appalled at the complacency of council leader Mrs Margaret Hodge and her colleagues.”
Hodge: “In my view the way they chose to report this was gutter journalism. It was scurrilous reporting, and we have complained to the Press Complaints Commission. The story misled the public on the quality of child care services in the borough and defamed some of the borough’s officers.”
Lib Dems were planning to propose a vote of no confidence in Hodge at 22 October meeting.
Thursday 15 October
Sex scandal: We must find out the truth (15.10.92), Islington Gazette
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn joined Lib Dem and Conservative members of Islington Council in calling for the allegations in the ES to be urgently looked into.
Town Hall social services chiefs were meeting SSI officials on Wednesday 21 October to discuss the terms of reference for the inquiry.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: “The allegations are extremely serious and must be properly investigated.”
Friday 16 October
How Louise, aged 15, was sent back to a life of shame (16.10.92), Evening Standard
Former Islington residential worker Billie O’Neill is horrified a girl is sent back to 80 Highbury New Park.
Pim Holwerda, a former Islington Social Worker is interviewed by the BBC about his allegations about staff at a specific children’s home being dismissed out of hand by management, “Basically they wanted it to go away. They were totally uncooperative which I found quite astonishing, you know, given the weight of the allegations I was making.”
Anne Goldie, another former Islington social worker suggests when interviewed that social workers’ attempts to report concerns and allegations to senior management had been damped down and there had been a cover-up.
Monday 19 October 1992
Inspectors to report on Islington (19.10.92), Evening Standard
A special meeting of the council’s case review sub-committee considered the Evening Standard reports
Councillors were told the council had pledged to give Mrs Bottomley a “management review” of social work procedures, headed by the two inspectors.
Wednesday 21 October: The meeting between SSI officials and Islington’s social services chiefs scheduled to take place.
Thursday 22 October: First full council meeting since Evening Standard revelations.
Solicitor, Mr Robin Lewis, of Bindman & Partners, King’s Cross, is investigating allegations of child sex abuse on holidays operated by Islington Council. He is appealing for help from people who went on the holidays in the early 1980s. “He believes that on the basis of information he has received, the fact that abuse was occurring would have been well known to almost all the children on the holidays.”
Friday 23 October 1992: Hodge steps down as council leader to take up a post as a senior consultant with accountancy firm Price Waterhouse
Police called to child abuse demo (23.10.92), Evening Standard, Stewart Payne
“The chair of Social Services, Sandy Marks promised a “full and thorough” investigation, headed by two people independent of the council. She also promised that necessary steps would be taken, including disciplinary action against staff.””
I will not quit over sex probe (29.10.92), Islington Gazette
Chairwoman of Social Services Sandy Marks refused to give Conservative Councillor Clive Blackwood an undertaking that she would take responsibility if the report revealed ‘shortcomings’ and resign. Marks had informed the council meeting last week the investigation would be conducted by Jo Tunnard, former director of the voluntary organisation Family Rights Group and Brian McAndrew, former Chief Executive of Enfield Council.
The Tunnard & McAndrew report’s remit was:
– Care, control & services provided to children mentioned by the Evening Standard
– Range of services provided to children at the council’s children’s homes
– Arrangement for investigations of incidents of organised abuse*
– Effective management of child care services and cases between the neighbourhood services departments and the neighbourhood offices
Marks: “We want the review to explore the nature of the allegations in full and to address any public concerns raised by them.”
*[What arrangements did the report make for investigating incidents of organised abuse?]
Still putting the family to rights (November 1992) Community Care
Profile of Jo Tunnard’s career.
Children’s homes ‘out of control’ (19.02.93), The Guardian
Interim assessment by Jo Tunnard, the former director of the Family Rights Group charity and pressure group and Brian McAndrew, former chief executive of the London Borough of Enfield.
Islington: The Missing Evidence (19.2.93), Evening Standard
“THE documents that landed on the desk of senior Islington social services officials made grim reading. Their inspector, Mike Betts, was damning in his reports on the state of the council’s children’s homes and was demanding urgent action to protect the welfare of the youngsters who lived in them.”
By November 1992 Betts had investigated 3 children’s homes including 1 of those most featured in the Standard’s revelations. He completed an interim basis report on this sample which was damning. The first part focused on the physical state of this home and the others. The second part was to focus on the emotional welfare of the children.
“Betts was called in for high-level meetings and assured that urgent steps would be taken to put right all that was wrong with the three homes he had inspected so far. Money would be made available immediately. But a decision was made at this same senior level to delay showing his reports to councillors on the social services committee as promised. The committee’s September minutes record that Betts would submit a progress report in November. But these minutes are public documents and officials feared that Betts’s damning reports would be seized upon by a hostile Press.
In November, therefore, the committee was told that it would have to wait until January for Betts’s findings. The inquiry ordered by Bottomley into the Standard’s allegations was originally due to report by Christmas. It was hoped that by January Press concern about Islington’s children’s homes would have evaporated.
In fact, the inquiry received so much evidence that it has only just reported.
Sarah Ludford, a Liberal-Democrat councillor on the social services committee, confirms that Betts’s reports have still not been studied. The committee’s chairwoman, Sandy Marks, told her this week that none even existed.
The Standard knows this is not true. Last week we discovered the existence of these reports and, astonishingly, that Islington had withheld them from the inquiry into its homes ordered by the Health Secretary. When we alerted the inquiry Betts was called in to give evidence.”
Betts had been called out on the social workers strike during November and when he returned to work in February/March 1993 he discovers he has been demoted.
New shock as child abuse files go missing, Evening Standard
Council appointed McAndrew reports to the Social Services sub-committee
A senior female chlid care officer had been suspended after allegations were made that she failed to take action on five occasions when children were seriously at risk.
In the case of a social worker who ‘disappeared’ with a child’s file, it was “difficult to assign the action to anything other than malice,” he said.
Chief Executive Eric Dear told the meeting: “Allegations were made in the Evening Standard and during the earlier stages of the independent management review that papers and files went missing at crucial times, and this severely hampered the investigations into allegations of child abuse.”
3 March 1993: The Press Complaints Commission rejects all Islington’s complaints against the Standard
Child home inspector is demoted (11.03.93), Evening Standard
MIKE BETTS, the Islington children’s home inspector whose damning reports on the borough’s homes were suppressed by management, has been demoted.
Pervert runs playpark in the woods (21.03.93), News of the World
Nicholas Rabet, aged 43, former Deputy Superintendent of Islington Children’s Home until 1989 is arrested while running the The Stable Centre in the village of Cross in Hand, near Heathfield Sussex.
A special police unit swooped on Northampton Park children’s home where staff were unable to prevent two children aged 13 – 15 from bullying a younger child. “A report on the incident will go to the independent inquiry into allegations that Islington children’s homes are poorly run and at times out of control.”
Country house hideaway of disgraced care chief (6.5.93), Evening Standard
“The Standard has established that the London Borough of Islington, whose children’s homes are the subject of an inquiry following our revelations that young people in council care were exposed to paedophiles, pimps and child pornographers, sends children to the Henniker estate under a scheme called The Islington Suffolk Project.
Hundreds of youngsters from Islington and other councils have holidayed at the Henniker estate, staying in log cabins, since the mid-1970s.
Investigators probing Righton’s background have been astonished by how he achieved such high office. He was known to Scotland Yard as a founder member of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which campaigned to legalise sex with children aged over four in the 1970s.”
“Recent scandals in residential childcare have led experts to believe that paedophile staff may be ‘networking’ nationally to exchange children and pornography – even protection. But only now are moves afoot to address this problem with investigators planning to meet Mr Herbert Laming, chief inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate, to request a co-ordinated nationwide team.”
Islington announces Part Two of Homes Inquiry with a pledge to openess
An investigation into children’s homes run by Islington Council announced its second stage on Tuesday 18 May 1993.
Social Services chair Sandy Marks commented: “I hope we have already learnt the lessons of Part One and are addressing failings in the system. The King’s Fund has already conducted a series of interviews with staff on our initiative and £250,000 has been spent on repairs and decorations to our children’s homes. We welcome Mr Cassam’s comments and will do everything we can allay any public disquiet raised by the allegations.
The terms of reference of Part Two are as follows;
– to examine the care and range of services provided to children and young people accomodated at Islington’s children’s homes and the management of this services (sic)
– to examine the arrangements for the effective management of child care services and cases between the Neighbourhood Service Dept and its Neighbourhood Offices
– to examine a range of personnel matters concerned with the management of staff who are subject to allegations in the Evening Standard articles of professional malpractice
– to make recommendations
Guilty as charged (28.07.93), Evening Standard
John Bowis: “The most serious and worrying allegation concerned networked child abuse in the borough. It is vital that arrangements for handling this are swift and effective. To that end, I have asked the social services inspectorate to examine Islington’s procedures in this area, and they will be conducting an inspection of their own into the management of network abuse in the borough.”
There was no immediate comment from Mrs Margaret Hodge.
Sandy Marks: “We have to try to find ways to persuade those young people, some of whom were prostitutes before they were taken into care, to change.”
Interviewer: “Aren’t these precisely the people who need more care from you?”
Sandy Marks: “Yes, but”
Interviewer: “And haven’t you let them down?”
Sandy Marks: “I think it is extremely difficult to persuade young people to change.”
Department of Health Inspectorate is still investigating allegations of a child abuse network. Nobody yet knows when they will report.
Council’s social services condemned (29.07.93), Independent
“The specific allegations of child abuse and paedophile rings remain unexamined.”
“A SSI inquiry, announced yesterday by the Government, will only look at Islington’s procedures for handling complaints of abuse.”
“Islington, which says it welcomes the report, will next week consider the recommendations. However, its says it may be unable to afford to carry them out.”
“Yesterday’s report, on the background to the controversy, says further investigation is needed into allegations that there has been organised, “network” abuse by paedophile rings in the Islington child-care system. John Bowis, junior health minister, responsible for social services, said he was asking the Social Services Inspectorate to inquire into network abuse in the borough and the authority’s procedures for dealing with it. “It is vital that arrangements for handling this are swift and effective.”
“Islington said in a statement that it welcomed the report and would prepare an action plan to address the recommendations, Eric Dear, chief executive, said there was no reason to take disciplinary action against any staff.”
Council’s social services condemned (29.07.93), Independent
“The specific allegations of child abuse and paedophile rings remain unexamined.”
“A Social Services Inspectorate inquiry, announced yesterday by the Government, will only look at Islington’s procedures for handling complaints of abuse.”
“Islington, which says it welcomes the report, will next week consider the recommendations. However, it says it may be unable to afford to carry them out.”
Eric Dear, chief executive of the council, said the report would not result in any disciplinary action against employees. “There is no advantage in looking at scapegoats. The report makes it clear that we should look forward and not backward.”
But Sarah Ludford, a Liberal Democrat councillor on the social services committee, said “The political leaders and top management must resign. The buck stops here.”
The report makes 26 recommendations for change, but Mr Dear said a lack of money could delay implementation of the proposals.
Derek Sawyer, the council leader, said: “We have failed some children in our care, and that is the most serious aspect. By implementing this report, we hope to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Child abuse sex ring found (1.8.93), Sunday Times
“Britain’s biggest police inquiry into organised sexual abuse of children has been launched by Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad.
The investigation into networks of paedophiles who have been paying for sex with boys and girls, has uncovered several groups across London and other parts of southern England who link up to swap information and abuse children. For the past five months officers from the squad have secretly liaised with directors of social services in more than half a dozen London boroughs amid fears that organised gangs have targeted vulnerable children in their areas.
Several of the most prominent offenders under surveillance are wealthy businessmen. They have been linked to a sex ring abusing young people living in children’s homes in the London borough of Islington.”
“The police inquiry has produced evidence that the north London borough has been a magnet for child molesters over the past few years, as a result of the council’s lax control over the young people in its charge.”
“On the same day the government ordered its health watchdog, the Social Services Inspectorate, to examine evidence that officials in the Labour-run council repeatedly ignored junior social workers who warned that paedophiles were preying on children in care.”
Kids’ home sex probe action call (1993), Islington Gazette
Derek Sawyer: “We owe it to the young people in our care to bring about change.”
One immediate decision was to set aside £400,000 for repairs and building improvement. One home had been described as like a “Dickensian workhouse … with filth and dilapidation.”
Councillors who met last Thursday were divided on whether the Standard had been right to publish the allegations of vulnerable teenagers.
Adoption: No sale of kids (15.07.93), Islington Gazette
“Social Services chairwoman Cllr Sandy Marks pledged her opposition on Monday to the Government’s plans to encourage councils to charge adopters thousands of pounds.”
“Cllr Marks chairs the adoption panel of councillors, social workers and independent advisors, including a parent with an adopted child, which considers each application. First, the panel decides whether the applicants are suitable. The third stage is to match the child with suitable applicants.”
Tuesday 27 July 1993: Council leaders have first sight of report
Wednesday 28 July 1993: Council press conference at noon delivering final report of Cassam and McAndrew
Thursday 29 July 1993: Social Services sub-committee meeting
Care report ‘hushed up’ (29.07.93), Islington Gazette
The council called a press conference at noon on Wednesday (28 July) to unveil the final report of an investigation into allegations that children in care were the victims of pimps, paedophiles and drug-pushers.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Sarah Ludford, a member of the social services committee, claims she is entitled to see the report at the same time as council leaders – on Tuesday afternoon. (27 July)
She said: “This is news management at its worst. Labour councillors are determined to manipulate the unveiling of the report.
Eric Dear: “The timetable for publication is an entirely practical one and is not designed to disadvantage anyone. Councillors and staff will have it within 24 hours of its receipt. There is then a further 24 hours to read it before discussion at the social services committee on Thursday night.”
Child care ‘in crisis’ (05.08.93), Islington Gazette
“The council’s social services committee agreed to accept the inquiry’s findings at a special meeting on Thursday.”
“It approved the appointment of a new children’s homes supremo, retired child care worker Anna Dunn.”
Liberal Democrat Sarah Ludford demanded the resignation of Cllr Sawyer, Cllr Sandy Marks, chairwoman of the social services committee, and director of neighbourhood services Mr Martin Higgins.
She said, “If they don’t the people of Islington cannot have the slightest faith that the kids in Islington’s so-called ‘care’ will now be safe.”
Time for heads to roll (05.08.93), Islington Gazette
Report no excuse to make cuts (05.08.93), Islington Gazette
Council steps up hunt for new image-maker (12.08.93), Islington Gazette
Police think many women make up rapes – report (25.08.93), Islington Gazette
Boy flees kidnap bid (23.09.93), Islington Gazette
A man tries to snatch a 10 year old boy on Liverpool Road, Islington
Islington’s head of child homes resigns (15.11.93), Evening Standard
LYN CUSACK, the Islington Council social work director in charge of children’s homes who was at the centre of an Evening Standard inquiry into sex abuse, has resigned.
Social services chief quits (18.11.93), Islington Gazette
Lyn Cusack, the Assistant Director of Neighbourhood Services takes early retirement after 26 years of service with the council.
Islington child care head retires early (1993), Care Weekly
Miller’s crossing (1993)
Profile of Hannah Miller
“Two more investigations will follow. The Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) has been instructed to examine the council’s response to claims of organised child abuse.
Cassam and McAndrew will also examine the accuracy of the 100 abuse allegations made by young people in the council’s care.”
An implementation group has been set up to steer the implementation of the report’s proposals. But Chief Executive Eric Dear warned that they may have to be phased because of a cash squeeze next year.”
John Bowis asked for a timetable for implementation and instructed the SSI to “monitor their progress”.
11 February 1994: Hodge admits to the Standard: “You were right that there was abuse in the children’s homes,” and blames her initial response on “misleading” information from senior officers and colleagues
Islington suspends senior manager over child care practice (17.03.94)
Childcare ‘improvements’ (07.04.94)
Scandal-hit families centre set to be re-opened (07.04.94)
Care services are ‘the worse in London’ (14.04.94)
Maggie’s Secret (28.04.94)
Former Islington leader thrown out (05.05.94)
Clinton leads the Council (19.05.94)
Islington denies contract haste (28.07.94), Care Weekly
A letter from Sandy Marks “…the main reason that we felt the home was in trouble was the hasty way in which it had been opened. That was an issued that LBI and the health service were equally responsible for, as were yourselves, as we all wanted to get the finance for the home before the government deadlines.”
Children abused by pimps in Islington (1.8.94), Evening Standard
“Cusack, married to a senior police officer formerly in charge of Islington child protection officers, resigned from the council last November in the wake of the Standard allegations. Throughout 1992, meetings were held to review the case of boy “A” and in August the council’s child protection co-ordinator Sara Noakes remarked that she would consider a joint meeting with police “when enough information has been gathered”.
Finally police promised surveillance of suspects’ addresses but nothing happened. Pointedly Mr Cassam states in his report: “For six months staff in the neighbourhood services department believed that the police were pursuing enquires. They were not”. He adds that social services failure to chase up police “shows a surprising lack of urgency”. Instead memos were flying around requesting “a sharing of information” and a meeting was set up at which “nobody turned up or sent apologies – including the police”.”
Islington Social Services chairwoman Sandy Marks on the Emlyn Cassam report:
“The report doesn’t confirm suspicious but increases them. These allegations have been around for a long time. We are clear about the issues and are trying to make sustained changes.”
Abuse kids in threat to sue (18.08.94), Islington Gazette
Runaway boys are found…living in a garage (27.10.94), Islington Gazette
One of the boys had run away from Elwood Street, Highbury, children’s home
Childcare inquiry chief named (10.11.94), Islington Gazette
Ian White, director of Social Services for Oxfordshire is appointed
Cllr Sarah Ludford: “It’s a cover-up. They want to prevent the people of Islington from knowing about the appalling blunders that were made by social services.”
Cllr Marks insisted she had the children’s interests at heart:
“If we had allowed the press to stay the children’s identites might have become known. We have to protect them. It’s rubbish to suggest we are attempting a cover-up.”
“A Gazette reporter attended the meeting of the case review sub-committee but on the casting vote of the chairwoman Cllr Sandy Marks councillors voted to exclude him.”
Islington tackles abuse (29.02.95), Community Care
From 11 March to 5 April (Good Friday) NSPCC ran a 24 hour hotline for Islington abuse survivors to call, Neil Hunt London Regional Director:
“If we don’t get anything, we will be much more confident it has been dealt with.”
At last they admit it: we were right (23.5.95), Evening Standard
“‘In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the equal opportunities environment, driven from the personnel perspective, became a positive disincentive for challenge to bad practice,’ states the 60-page report, instigated by the Department of Health. ‘Positive discrimination in Islington has had serious unintended consequences in allowing some staff to exploit children.’
The report calls for a review of equal opportunities policy in the borough and warns: ‘We are not at all sure that the equal opportunities climate has sufficiently changed so as to avoid some of the problems of the past.’
The Evening Standard submitted a dossier to the White inquiry identifying 32 staff suspected by colleagues of abuse or neglect.
Mr White confirms that only four were investigated. Most were allowed to resign, often with glowing references.”
23 May 1995: Report by Ian White, Oxfordshire director of social services, backs the Standard and says care-home workers were able to corrupt children in part because Islington’s ideological policies prevented complaints being investigated.
Hodge responds: “I have had no involvement with Islington council for three years. It would be inappropriate for me to comment”
Vital files ‘withheld from police’ (23.05.95), Evening Standard:
The White report confirms that vital files in this boy’s case and in two other police child sex-ring inquiries went missing. “It appears that this happened at assistant director level” where “many confidential files were destroyed by mistake.”
Child abuse claims left unchecked (24.5.95), The Guardian, David Brindle, Social Services Correspondent
“Of the 32 named members of staff, 13 had been subjected to no investigation at all. Five left on healthgrounds before disciplinary action was concluded, and 10 resigned. Only 4 were subject to disciplinary action, of whom 2 were dismissed, and only 1 was charged with child abuse. 2 members of staff are still employed by the borough, one outside social services. The other, head of a children’s centre, was suspended in line with the report’s reccomendations yesterday. He was not identified in the report, but who was named later as Alfred Hurst, 41, who runs the Park Place Family Centre in Highbury. He has a conviction for indecency, which he declared when he joined the council, and has already been admonished for inappropriate behaviour in referring a 14 year old to an “unknown” gay counselling group.”
Margaret Hodge said she couldn’t comment on a report she hadn’t seen. “But she did now regret not bringing in an independent investigator.”
26 May 1995: Hodge tells Radio 4: “Of course I accept responsibility. I was leader of the council at the time”
Ian white “recommended that other councils which employed former Islington staff should carry out thorough checks on their background.”
“Islington council has asked every social services department in Britain to forward a full list of its childcare staff and has undertaken to comb through each and identify suspects if they appear.
But this system has been condemned as unwieldy. One council source said: “We should publish the list and be damned.”
Who can politicians believe? (1995), Margaret Hodge
On the existence of a paedophile ring Hodge wrote: “…rumours of the existence of a paedophile ring had already been investigated thoroughly by the police and the council on previous occasions and no evidence had been found. That has been confirmed in the report by Ian White, director of social services for Oxfordshire.”
[MH doesn’t mention that in April 1990 she had refused resources/budget for social workers acting to connect with other neighbourhood offices who had requested investigation stating “We need to explore the real possibility of sex ring functioning in this area.” or that files had gone missing at Assistant Director SS level]
“The other allegations centred on the management of the children’s homes. At several meetings with responsible officers, I repeatedly asked them whether there was any truth whatsoever in any of the allegations. The error I made was to believe and accept the word of my officers in saying there was no foundation to the stories. In fact, the officers alleged that the Evening Standard had been paying the children for their stories and therefore they were tainted and could be discounted. The officers were wrong.”
Director of Neighbourhood Services, Martin Higgins, takes early retirement.
Country life of a child abuser; ‘Rabet recruited many young boys to work at his activity centre’ (7.8.95)
Trapped on tape: Amazing child sex admission by a top social worker (09.08.95) Today, 9th August 1995, Kim Sengupta
Andrew Davis, 44, now Youth Justice Manager of Westminster Council had been named in the White Report
Westminster Council justified their decision not to fire him once they were aware of the allegations from Islington on the basis that he was now a middle manager “with other social workers between him and children.”
Mr Davis was on paid leave since August 3rd 1995
Passport to perversion (13.6.96) Evening Standard, Eileen Fairweather
John Major has ordered a judicial inquiry into North Wales children’s home and commissioned a national inquiry on organised child abuse. “The Cabinet is right to fear the public has totally lost confidence in Britain’s commitment to protecting its most vulnerable children.”
Took 60 articles and three years for the White Report to get to the allegations alleged 3 years before.
“In 1992, when we began investigating claims that children in Islington’s care were routinely raped and prostituted by staff, we suspected our sources were paranoid.
That seems an age of innocence ago. It was eventually proven that 32 Islington staff were allowed quietly to resign after serious allegations, including child porn, drugs, buggery, child abduction and dishonesty.
Most were given glowing references, allowing them to gain work with children elsewhere. It took five government-ordered inquiries before the full truth emerged.”
Home Boss faces sex charges (19.03.99) Western Daily Press, March 19, 1999, pg. 12
Derek Russell Duker, Manager of Gisburne House, Watford
“FORMER children’s home manager Derek Duker has been charged with seven offences of indecent assault. Duker, aged 69, of Clifton Road, Weston-super-Mare, was accused at Highbury Corner magistrates court in London of committing the offences between October 5 1966 and December 31 1973 at Gisburne House children’s home in Watford. He was remanded on conditional bail until April 8.”
13 June 2003: Hodge becomes Minister for Children
27 June 2003: Hodge tells Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4: “I don’t think that any of us recognised the danger of child abuse in children’s homes to the extent that we’re aware of it now. I’ve learned from my failure to understand at that time”
Yes Minister, you were told about child abuse in the care homes, yet you refused to listen (30.6.03)
Last month this man killed himself in Thailand after being accused of sexually abusing 300 boys (11.6.06)
Suffolk: Law suit involving a mayor, and a former council leader, following paedophile teacher’s conviction (2.10.12)
‘I do not doubt men in smart cars preyed on boys – but justice requires detective work not hearsay’ (9.11.2012)