08 July 2013
Joint Press Release on behalf of the six North Wales Councils
The Jillings Report
EMBARGO 9am, 8 July 2013
Successor Councils to the former Clwyd County Council have today (8 July) released a redacted copy of the Jillings report into historic child abuse.
Following independent legal advice and discussions with the Police acting on behalf of the Operation Pallial investigation into recent allegations of historic child abuse in North Wales, the report has been redacted, but not abridged, with some names and detail blanked out.
A separate note explaining why the redactions have been made is attached to this news release.
The North Wales Councils recognise that the release of the report may bring distress to those affected by historic abuse and they encourage anyone who is affected by its release to call one of the numbers below if they need support.
All councils have and will continue to support anyone affected by abuse.
In North Wales, the safeguarding of children and young people is a high priority for today’s Councils.
Very few children are now placed in residential care and when they are, safety, quality of care and individual outcomes are carefully reviewed and monitored.
Since the publication of the Waterhouse report, Lost in Care, significant new statutory legislation and guidance has been implemented for Looked after Children.
In particular, within all new legislation and guidance are the rights of the child. This is evident in legislation and guidance around safeguarding, care planning and within the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer.
There has also been the development of the corporate parenting role within all North Wales councils to ensure improved results for Looked after Children.
Some significant areas of performance and protection are:
- Wales has an independent Children’s Commissioner.
- In North Wales we commission advocacy services to ensure children in care have a voice.
- Every Social Services department has an appropriately qualified Children’s Complaints Officer.
- We have clear whistle-blowing procedures in place, enabling members of staff to make complaints and raise matters of concern affecting a Looked After Child.
- Children are regularly visited; they’re also seen alone, at intervals, away from their residential or foster home.
- Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) organise a variety of specialised training for staff working with children.
- Local agencies work closely together on safeguarding issues, particularly in relation to children who are missing from home.
- Rigorous procedures are in place for recruiting foster care and residential staff.
All councils remain vigilant and continue to monitor and review procedures and practices.
Useful contacts for the public:
Operation Pallial Investigation Team
Telephone: 0800 118 1199
Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre
Telephone: 0870 000 3344
Telephone: 0808 800 5000
Children’s Commissioner for Wales
Freephone: 0808 801 1000 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri except Bank Holidays)
Text: 80800 starting the message with COM.
Telephone: 0845 303 0900
Notes to Editors
1. The four successor councils (from April 1996) to the former Clwyd County Council are Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council, Flintshire County Council, and Wrexham County Borough Council.
The six North Wales successor councils (from April 1996) to the former Clwyd County Council and Gwynedd County Council are: Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council, Flintshire County Council, Gwynedd Council, Isle of Anglesey County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council.
3. As this is an historic report, and the Council which commissioned it no longer exists, it is not considered appropriate for any follow-up media interviews to this press release.
4. Media inquiries should be directed to Gill Stevens on 01978 292289.
5. Operation Pallial media enquiries should be directed to the Serious Organised Crime Agency Press Office (SOCA) on 08702 688 100. Operation Pallial is an independent investigation, led by Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency, into recent allegations of historical abuse of children in care in North Wales. It is being conducted by officers and staff from SOCA, with assistance from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) and police officers and staff from forces in England.
The Jillings report was commissioned by the former Clwyd County Council in 1994. On legal advice, Clwyd County Council did not publish the report and in March 1996 its full Council noted the report and agreed to refer it to the Secretary of State for Wales to assist him in considering whether or not there should be a public inquiry. The Waterhouse Inquiry was subsequently instituted.
In November 2012, following FOI requests, successor Councils to the former Clwyd Council established that copies of the report were held in local authority archives.
The successor Councils took legal advice on whether the report should be disclosed under the Freedom of Information legislation, whether in full or in part.
Following the publication of theOperation Pallial Public Report on Progress on the 29 April 2013, Council representatives have spoken with the investigation to assess the potential impact of releasing the Jillings report on ongoing criminal enquiries.
Councils have reviewed whether or not to release any or all of the Report in light of that discussion and the independent legal advice from Hempsons Solicitors, obtained jointly on behalf of the successor councils.
A decision has now been made to release a redacted version of the Jillings Report today (8 July 2013)