07 Nov 2018

Islington Council statement on the publication of the review report of Sarah Morgan QC

Background:

In 2017, Islington Council agreed to commission an independent review of allegations in relation to former councillor Sandy Marks.  For more information see item 427 in the Executive agenda, decisions and minutes from 29th September, 2017.  The council committed to publish the independent review’s report, and to accept its conclusions and recommendations. 

Sarah Morgan QC was appointed to conduct the review, which began in February 2018.   

The review report was published on 7th November 2018 and is available here

Islington Council statement: 

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “Today, as promised, we publish the report of the independent review of allegations in relation to former councillor Sandy Marks. 

“We accept all the report’s conclusions and expectations, and have sent a copy of the report to the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), and will continue our enduring commitment to help survivors with specialist psychological support and housing. 

“We have apologised before for the council’s failure to protect vulnerable children in its care in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and today we repeat that apology.  Today's report again sets out starkly the failings in Islington’s children’s homes up to the early 1990s, which were utterly horrifying. As acknowledged in today's report, the council today is a very different organisation.  Protecting children from harm is our top priority. 

“We are also committed to supporting survivors of child abuse and have put in place a package of support for survivors, which includes access to psychological support and counselling, personal advice on issues such as housing, access to benefits and individual support.” 

Survivors of abuse in Islington who would like to access help and support can contact survivorsupport@islington.gov.uk 

More information on support for survivors can be found on the council website

Notes to editors: 

The White Report in May 1995, which reviewed 13 reports previously commissioned by Islington Council into abuse, was extremely critical of the state of child care in Islington.  Since the report 23 years ago, there have been huge changes to social services in Islington, including the closure of all the council’s children’s homes, and there have also been major improvements to child safeguarding nationally.

The independent review report by Sarah Morgan QC does not recommend that the White Report should be reopened, or recommend a fresh inquiry into the abuse in Islington’s children’s homes, and the council does not propose to reopen the White Report or open a further inquiry.

The council believes strongly that any new allegations or evidence of crime or abuse should be reported to police; the council expects the police to fully investigate newly reported allegations or evidence of abuse, and calls upon the police to take action to bring abusers to justice.  The council has helped survivors report allegations to specialist police officers, without the need to visit a police station, and can offer similar help to others.

The review report of Sarah Morgan QC suggests that the focus, energy and resources of the council should be on responding to the needs of and making provision for those who were abused as children in its care, and on protecting those children for whom it has responsibility today.   The council completely accepts its responsibility to respond to the needs of and make provision for those who were abused, and has put in place a package of support for survivors that includes access to psychological support and counselling, personal advice on issues such as housing, access to benefits and individual support, and is also working further on its redress scheme.  The council also strongly agrees that protecting children for whom it has responsibility today is its top priority.  Last year an Ofsted inspection rated Islington’s children’s services “good with outstanding leadership, management and governance” and the council is committed to funding children’s services so it can fully meet its responsibilities to children, despite ongoing Government cuts to council budgets.

The council has given a copy of today’s report to IICSA, and will give its full support to any further inquiries or investigations that IICSA decides to undertake in relation to abuse in Islington’s children’s homes.

 

Contact information

Islington Council Media Team

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Tel: 020 7527 2307

Out of Hours: 07769 163303

media.team@islington.gov.uk