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SALFORD STAR POLICE PROBE
 

Star date: 21st June 2010 

SALFORD COUNCIL CHILDREN'S SERVICES INVOLVE POLICE IN SALFORD STAR EXPOSE…

In what we see as an attempt to shoot the messenger, the Salford Star has received a letter from Salford Council, copied to the police, demanding to know more details of how the Star got hold of confidential child case studies…

As the Council's Children's Services today get slammed by OFSTED for being `inadequate', is this an attempt to find a scapegoat?

Full details here…


Late last month the Salford Star ran a story (click here) of how confidential child protection papers had been found in the street and handed over to us. At a time when Salford Council's Child Protection practice is being slated by OFSTED (click here), amidst management resignations and sackings in the department, it was absolutely shocking that such sensitive documents, detailing a family's personal difficulties, should have been found in this way.

The Council insisted that the files weren't missing but we had a copy nonetheless, which we handed back after they asked nicely. No copies were taken of the files because it was none of our business, or anybody else's, what was happening within a certain Salford family.  

Last Friday, the Salford Star received a letter from Salford Council's Nick Page, Acting Director of Children's Services, and Gill Rigg, Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children's Board, "concerned to read that you were in possession of these case files when they clearly relate to a significant child protection process."

The letter asked us to "help" with the investigation by "identifying" who handed the files to us, who read them, whether they had a CRB check and "who made the decision not to hand over the case files immediately to Children's Services in Salford".

The tone of the letter was threatening and it was copied to Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan of Greater Manchester Police.

Below is our reply…

Dear Nick Page and Gill Rigg

I was surprised to receive your letter last Friday concerning your `investigation' into the Salford Star's possession of confidential social worker case files, particularly as you copied in the Chief Superintendent of Greater Manchester Police.

To us, it smacks of `shooting the messenger', rather than getting your own house in order, particularly in light of today's OFSTED Report, yet again criticising Salford Council's Children's Services for `Inadequate' safeguarding of our kids.

I do hope you are not implying that we somehow came across the files by illegal means – and I would like you to address this point directly.

I am really sorry that you found "no evidence of social workers misplacing the files" but that really isn't our problem. Do you think that the files just mysteriously materialised from another dimension?

You write that "We were concerned to read that you were in possession of these case files when they clearly relate to a significant child protection process" – not half as concerned as the Salford Star and its readers I can assure you!

You ask who gave us the case files and when – I can tell you that they were put through my door with an unsigned note saying they were found on Oaklands Road in Lower Kersal. Unfortunately I don't keep a diary of when things are shoved through my door.

You ask who read the information and whether they had a CRB check? Yep, I read it, otherwise I wouldn't have known what it was, and, yes, I do have a CRB check, from Salford Council actually.

You ask who made the decision not to hand over the files immediately? They were handed over immediately to Salford Council once the department had asked nicely for them back. No copies were taken of the files and no-one else read them as the content really wasn't any of our, or anybody else's, business.

What is people's business is how such confidential documents could be found lying in the street – and as a journalist it is my obligation to write about it, whether you like it or not.

I do totally object to the tone of your letter, particularly as we did our civic duty by handing them back in a sealed envelope. If this is how people get treated, then next time this happens we shall hand over the files directly to the family concerned and see what they have to say. Or maybe we should inform them now about how their life story was found lying in the street?

I do hope this answers all your points, and do hope that Salford City Council Children's Services manages to improve its safeguarding rating to at least `adequate' in the near future.

Regards

Stephen Kingston
Editor, Salford Star.

Cc Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, Greater Manchester Police
      Mike Burrows, Chief Executive Salford Primary Care Trust
 
The Salford Star asked Salford Council why it is, in effect, shooting the messenger by involving the police with investigations into Salford Star's expose of confidential child case studies found lying in the street. We are still waiting for a response...

See Salford Council Children's Services slammed by OFSTED on Safeguarding kids - click here

Stop Press: 5:30pm 21st June 2010

We have just received an explanation from Nick Page, via Salford City Council...

"The letter was sent on behalf of the Salford Safeguarding Children's Board, whose key partners include the police and NHS Salford. Clearly, these papers are confidential and extremely sensitive. This is why there are limited copies produced for specific agencies and individuals involved in a family's care, and it is why I was able to confirm the city council has not misplaced any such papers.
 
"It is not a case of shooting the messenger but a wholly appropriate response to find out how the papers were passed on to a third party. If there has been a breach of process or protocol we would need to understand what had happened in order to prevent its reoccurrence. I make no apology for that."

Salford Star responds:

"Didn't know there was any breach in protocol leaving stuff lying around the streets and someone picking it up..."

 


wrote
at 06:48:23 on 17 October 2012
salford social services destroyed a lot of young lifes as i was a ex moorfield and peelwood
 
caroline wrote
at 15:36:35 on 05 October 2011
God bless salford star...I wonder if they wish to close you down to ?
 
Salford resident wrote
at 07:37:22 on 05 July 2010
There are many incompetent workers within this type of industry. I've worked in the past with people from the public sector. Managers within the departments have revealed personal info on each other so it's not supprising private and confidential info gets out. Good staff are usually bullied by the meager. The wrong people in the wrong jobs. I see people promoted beyond their capabilities by playing the system. Decent workers passed due to not being of the right ilk if u like. The problem with these services is the people who run them. Perhaps if the employed less so called educated but from the community then they might employ more dedicated empathetic staff. I'm not saying let anyone do the jobs but I've seen excellent staff passed over even though they have the experience and all the skills needed for a cold career chaser.
 
Grandad wrote
at 12:21:20 on 22 June 2010
The authorities are right to be concerned that such information can fall into the hands of the public. So, too, is the Salford Star. To pick on the paper/its editor/reporters for revealing someone - one of only a handful of people - should have lost such documents is ridiculous. Find out who lost the papers - and roast them.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 11:05:26 on 22 June 2010
It is clear that somebody at the 'leper colony', better known as Salford Council, is not doing their job. I know we all make mistakes, but us big fellas hold our hands up & admit it. This bunch however try to deflect attention by making out that somebody else is doing wrong. By the way it's known as the 'leper colony' because no other employers will touch anybody who works there.
 
wrote
at 05:44:29 on 22 June 2010
I gathered in 2003 that the police, NHS social services crapcass and Courts are all in this together. Child catchers, child snatchers, child abusers, child neglectful, child traffickers. Circular complaints at loggerheads from department to department, full circle back to square one, no redress no remedy.................Class action against fraudsters and kidnappers is a must " In the best interests of the victimized and neglected children". Not in the best Interest of those guilty of wrongdoing. All above corporations, there to make money from hard working citizens. Article 13 ECHR Directive, missing form our UK modal. " Right to an effective remedy" " Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity. I wonder why Article 13 is missing from the UK modal?? Could it be that Article 13 gives us, the Human race, an advantage in law against those who willingly and knowingly violate our Human rights daily. All authorities are accountable according to EU. "
 
sssssh! wrote
at 21:26:18 on 21 June 2010
As the person who found the file and put it through your door I can tell you this. Yes--I had a quick look through the file.If I had not looked at it then I would not have known what it was. I have not a CRB check but do not have a criminal record. I did not look through the file in detail once I realised what it was. I passed it onto the Salford Star because I think the people of Salford should know how "confidential" files are treated.Either someone lost the file (Salford say they haven,t) or social services have a mole. Wouldn,t it make more sense for the mole to pass the file on to the Salford Star directly rather than throwing it in the road? Luckily or unluckily, the road must not have been swept that day.
 
Ex-Moorfield, Peelwood and Alderwood Children's Homes wrote
at 20:27:42 on 21 June 2010
I'm very sad to read this. I was in care in Salford in the 1980s. Although I was taken into 'voluntary care' (i.e. with my parents consent) with injuries resulting from physical abuse, my father was never prosecuted for what he had done. Years later, a senior social worker told me that my father hadn't been prosecuted because the social services had failed to follow their own procedures. Even though the social services knew his track record, my father then went on to physically abuse another family member because he hadn't been formally prosecuted for what he did to me the other family member was erroneously deemed not to be at risk. Salford Social Services failed me and other family members. I'm saddened to hear that they are still failing children in Salford in this day and age.
 
justamum wrote
at 18:33:00 on 21 June 2010
What a breath of fresh air it is to see a truly independent publication that is not intimidated by local authorities or social services for that matter.You must have them worried. A few more dedicated people are indeed making them sweat a little as well over 100 families so far, have embarked upon a class action against local authorities countrywide for the unlawful removal of their children.Details can be seen here:http://www.freedom-advocacy-law.co.uk
 
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