A SENIOR councillor is calling for an independent inquiry into Wrexham council’s child protection services.
Cllr Neil Rogers says a “potentially dangerous position” is emerging within the service which could lead to a repeat of the horrific Baby P case in Haringey.
He is particularly concerned over allegations that police referrals were being “binned”.
He has written to the council’s chief executive Isobel Garner outlining his fears and the council has now admitted there were “irregularities” in the system.
Cllr Rogers told the Leader: “Obviously I have stirred a hornets’ nest because it’s been admitted that there are problems.
“As a councillor I’m responsible for the people in my care and I felt it was my duty to inform the chief executive of my concerns and, as a parent and a grandparent myself, I felt there were serious concerns that need addressing.
“I didn’t want to do nothing and then three months down the line a situation arises and think that I didn’t do anything about it.”
In his letter Cllr Rogers stated: “Current and former staff allege that significant irregularities and unsafe practice have existed for some time with regard to the receipt and processing of child protection referrals form the police.
“It is understood that these have been systematically shelved and more recently “binned”. It is also understood that North Wales Police have expressed their dismay and anger at this practice. Many of these referrals relate to domestic violence involving children.”
Concerns were also raised over the numbers of agency workers, funding shortfalls and the abolition of the specialist social worker post.
But Ms Garner said an independent inquiry was not necessary and problems were being addressed.
In a letter to Cllr Rogers, opposition Labour group leader, she said: “The safeguarding and support department has received an allegation that some police referrals were ‘binned’. This matter has been investigated and irregularities identified.
“Management action was taken to review the cases where irregularities were identified and procedures have been tightened to ensure no recurrence.”
Ms Garner also confirmed a member of staff was currently subject to disciplinary proceedings following the allegations.
But Cllr Rogers, a member of the council’s executive, says he will not rest until a full investigation is carried out. “I will continue to call for an independent inquiry.”
“And I want the staff to be assured that if they come forward and make their points there will be no repercussions for them.”
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