Monthly Archives: July 2008

“WE MUST CONTROL THE POLICE FORCE”

JERSEY ESTABLISHMENT’S RESPONSE

TO AN INDEPENDENT POLICE FORCE

FINALLY INVESTIGATING HISTORIC CHILD ABUSE.

Sorry for not posting for a while, it’s been a very busy 10 days or so.

I will recount later this week the details of the various child protection events which have occurred in Jersey since I last posted.

And a fascinating amalgam of elements they have been.

For example, it furnishes us with another opportunity to examine the “performance” of the Jersey media. (Which I never speak to any more, in case you’re wondering why I haven’t had a presence in the local press for a few weeks. Actually, it’s really quite liberating.)

But it just to be going on with, I thought it might interest you to read a letter which I sent to the Jersey Evening Post last week. I wrote the letter in response to what I considered to be some truly quiet extraordinary comments made in The Rag by Mr Ian le Marquand.

Mr le Marquand is a recently retired Magistrate, who plans to seek election as Senator later this year in Jersey’s General election.

He is the archetypal Jersey establishment election candidate. Lawyer, wealthy, “pillar-of-society” – and possessed of a natural assumption to power. And, of course, along with all of that comes the equally traditional baggage. Insular, ignorant, arrogant and completely out of touch with the real world.

For many years, the three relevant departments – Health and Social Services, Education, and Home Affairs, had to continually resist demands from Mr Le Marquand that we make the child custody laws tougher and that, essentially, we run the child secure units as though they were prisons in miniature.

As though, as we now know, the existing practices were not tough enough.

Essentially, Mr Le Marquand wanted the power to sentence children in trouble with the law to lengthy periods of imprisonment. ‘Get the ‘problem’ off the streets’; I think the philosophy could be described as.

However, he and his judicial colleagues alighted on a ruse by which they could dodge the will of the legislators – and do exactly as they pleased.

Because the law permitted children to be held in custody ‘on remand’ – the Magistrates simply placed children on remand for very lengthy periods of time – thus, de facto – ‘sentencing’ children to a term of imprisonment. In some cases, children would eventually be released after weeks or months of this – without charge.

Such practices were almost certainly simply unlawful and a clear abuse of process.

But, in an even more stark example of the judicial apparatus being a component in an inchoate criminal offence, the Magistrates – such as Mr Le Marquand himself – would remand children to places like Greenfields and Les Chennes – where children would be subject to the kind of manifest criminality as described in my last post.

I will describe the legal issues in a later post.

Back to the letter I wrote to The Rag.

To my astonishment, they actually printed most of it. but just to get the full flavour of what I was objecting to, I’ll reproduce the entire letter below.

What was the issue?

Essentially, Mr Le Marquand was objection to the independence of the States of Jersey Police Force – and asserting how the Force should be brought back under political direction.

Yeah – I know; cliché alert!

You couldn’t make it up.

Here’s my letter, which is self-explanatory. Perhaps I should point out that if you live in Jersey you can now get medication free of prescription charges – in case you feel the need to hit the Prozac and Valium after digesting Mr. Le Marquand’s profoundly frightening observations.

Stuart.

Wednesday 23rd July 2008

Letters to the editor
Jersey Evening Post
Five Oaks
St. Saviour.

The comments of Mr. Ian Le Marquand, Advocate, former Magistrate and candidate for the office of Senator, as reported in the JEP Wednesday 23rd July, are amongst the most deeply disturbing comments I have ever heard from an election candidate in Jersey.

I know Jersey grandees – with all their natural presumption to power – live in a strange parallel universe, into which reality rarely intrudes, but Mr Le. Marquand’s comments are shockingly insular and ignorant, even by Jersey establishment standards.

He says: “The issue about oversight of the police is based on a growing concern over a lengthy period of time that the police were increasingly operating as if they were a politically independent organisation. That predates the Haute de la Garenne investigation by about two years. It is a long-standing concern that they are operating without effective political oversight.”

The Police operating as if they were a “politically independent organisation.”?

This will obviously come as a deep shock to Mr. Le Marquand – but police forces are politically independent organisations.

The Police Force does indeed – these days, at least – undertake it’s duties in a manner independent of politics, and of direct political control.

And the problem with that is?

There is a term for political systems that exercise direct political control over police forces. That term is ‘fascism’.

Every police force the length of the nation operates on a politically independent basis. The government sets the laws and sets the policies. The Police then undertake their duties within that framework – operationally independent of political control.

But in Jersey-establishment-world – “independent” police forces are clearly deemed undesirable. Truly, some things are just beyond parody.

So – presumably if Mr. Le Marquand is elected we can look ‘forward’ to a return to days gone by – when Jersey’s Police Force was told politically who they could or couldn’t investigate, who they could or couldn’t charge, which offences they could investigate, which media they could speak to – and which area of policing activity should be set aside – because it might just be too “politically” inconvenient.

It actually speaks volumes about the Jersey establishment, that in the midst of a child abuse atrocity of international scale – their candidates can so blithely, and without apparent embarrassment, speak of a return to the days of political control over the Police Force; an approach which has left this community confronting at least six decades of the most monstrous child abuse – 95% of which has remained concealed and unpunished.

That it is – finally – being exposed today is largely down to two things: the absence of “political” control over the Police Force; and the brave efforts of independently-minded Officers like Lenny Harper.

Many of the victims are no longer with us – having committed suicide over the years. During the last year or so, I have spoken to many, many victims of abuse; people of all ages. The great majority of the survivors have led shattered lives and carry with them to this day the burdens of what they suffered.

For their sakes – I most sincerely hope that Mr. Le Marquand is not elected.

Yours sincerely,

Senator Stuart Syvret.

A CONTINUUM OF ABUSE.

MALTREATMENT AND HARM;

INFLICTED ON VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN JERSEY.

IT DIDN’T END WITH HAUTE DE LA GARENNE.

A Brief Account of a Tragic Day Spent with the Wreckage of Jersey’s Child “Care” System.

Throughout this nightmare, a thing I have always tried to get across to journalists, perhaps with limited success, is that it isn’t just about Haute de la Garenne.

It wasn’t only that institution.

Haute de la Garenne certainly appears to be the worst – by some margin – but the abuse and torture of vulnerable children didn’t end at that foul place.

Child abuse was prevalent in many other Jersey government run institutions. Both during the same era as Haute de la Garenne – and most definitely after that place was closed in 1986.

What we are dealing with is a continuum of abuse; an ingrained attitude of viciousness, contempt and disregard for children in need. And worse – an arena to which the lazy, the crazed, the psychotic and the sadistic seemed to gravitate.

A culture of contempt.

A culture of disregard.

A culture of abuse.

A culture of concealment.

And it didn’t end with Haute de la Garenne.

It continues to this day.

Even now – unambiguous examples of criminally abusive treatment of children in “care” are being covered-up by senior civil servants and today’s politicians.

For example – just consider the recent Williamson report. A slap-dash piece of ethically bankrupt nonsense, produced by an author who very nearly succeeded in delivering what his paymasters forked-out for.

Nearly – but not quite.

I won’t deal with Williamson now – Simon Bellwood and I – supported by some very – very – heavyweight experts, are preparing a response to Williamson’s screed.

The round-house battering his “work” is going to receive won’t be for the squeamish.

I hope his £50 grand was worth it; in all probability it’s his last ever cheque as ‘Mr. Fix-It’ so far as local authorities needing a credible white-wash are concerned.

He struck his Faustian pact with Jersey’s money-men – and the quid pro quo has been the destruction of his credibility.

As I said – the cover-ups continue to this day.

Name any aspect of the Jersey child abuse disaster – and I will show you lies being spoken of it by Jersey’s oligarchy. Today.

Let us set aside Haute de la Garenne – and instead consider some much more recent examples of institutional abuse.

Abuses that even to the present day, Jersey’s Education Minister, Senator Mike Vibert, attempts to deny.

A few weeks ago I received another heartrending letter from another messed-up young man, presently languishing in Jersey’s La Moye Prison.

He – and many, many others like him – are victims of Jersey’s child “care” system, and the barbarities of Jersey’s youth custody apparatus.

I contacted the prison, and asked if I could visit him, and a few other of my constituents whilst I was there. I took the opportunity to suggest that the prison authorities could put word around the nick that I would be willing to meet with any other people who had been through Jersey’s child “protection” system.

Now, Jersey is a very small place, but even so, there were 19 youths and young men who wanted to speak with me. I was in the jail from 9.15 in the morning until about 7.30 in the evening.

Of the 19 – 18 had been in “care” in Jersey as children. Some had only been in the residential children’s “homes” – most had been in child custody.

The experiences of these people, when children, were uniformly bleak. Bleak in different ways, to be sure – but ultimately, so bleak that there they all languish – in Jersey’s prison – united in criminality by a common factor – namely being victims of Jersey’s child “protection” apparatus.

It is true enough that correlation does not equal causation; some of these young men may have been drawn to a life of crime in any event.

But as much as defenders of Jersey’s oligarchy may assert the system is not to blame for how these kids’ lives have turned out – on the basis of probabilities their claim is no more valid than ours if we were to argue that the way these children were treated was a prime factor in their consequent dysfunction.

But we do not rely on mere probabilities.

We know – on a strongly evidenced basis – that they way these people were treated as children was – without question – harmful, damaging and barbaric.

Incidentally – I am in the process of writing up all my notes from this visit, which I will furnish to the States of Jersey Police – along with yet another formal statement.

To gain a flavour of the kind of treatment these kids went through, I’ll quote one of the letters sent to me by one of the kids in Jersey’s prison. I asked his permission to reproduce it, but, obviously, I will anonymise it so as to protect the identity of the young man and those he names. Apart from that, it’s reproduced exactly as he wrote it.

He describes his time in the child custody system of Jersey:

“Dear Senator Syvret,

I am [name excised] and currently reside at La Moye Prison, and I am writing this factual letter to tell you of some of my many experiences at [name of child secure unit excised] from [dates excised] and to help with any enquiries. My time at [child secure unit name excised] was over one year ago but my first night there was quite scary but I got through it. It was the morning that worried me but I saw someone I knew to be [name excised] I have known him for many years and asked him how long he’d been down here he stated about a week. But I was soon to find out that this was wrong and they were locked up 23 hours a day and when I say they I mean [name 1, name 2, name 3 excised] all former inmates of [child secure unit name excised]. Anyway moving on a few weeks later whilst on remand I was sat in what we called the day room is where we spent the daytime watching TV I was sat on the corner of a piece of furniture when I was told to sit on it properly I refused and was pulled off and then restrained to the floor, after that I was taken to secure stripped naked and left in a cell with no mattress a cold floor and no clothes and left for hours I was bruised and distressed and still to this day it winds me up. A bit later on a social worker came to see me naked and upset and gave me some clothes when she left I was locked up for 23 hours a day for three weeks in a cell only with a skylight. I was shortly released from court but the person I believe who done most of these things was [name of senior staff member excised].

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Would like to hear back.

[Name excised]”

My experiences of life – and my time in politics – have made me a very tough character. But still, when I read of these tragedies in miniature, I can’t help but get upset.

What the States of Jersey did to this child was appalling.

Dragged into a cell – stripped naked – left on the bare, cold floor – not as much as a mattress – left for hours before being given any clothes – alone and bruised and distressed – and then kept in the cell for 23 hours-a-day – for three weeks – 1 hour out for exercise, but still in isolation, no mixing with other kids – 23 hours-a-day – for three weeks – in a bare cement cell which didn’t even have a window – only a skylight in the ceiling.

And you know what?

This child was one of the lucky ones.

Let me run through a very brief list of what some of these children – in recent times, remember – suffered. These experiences as recounted to me last week on my visit to Jersey’s prison.

One young man – I won’t mention his name – but he has gone public on the maltreatment he received as a child in custody.

This included being held in the above-described solitary confinement regime – for two months.

Yes – two months.

Unsurprisingly, he had an emotional breakdown after 1 month of this treatment. This, after all, is precisely why such tortures are used in Guantanamo Bay.

The response of the Jersey secure unit authorities to this child’s mental collapse?

They sent a “councillor” from the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health service to speak with him – for half-an-hour.

Once-a-week.

But kept him in isolation in the “pits” for another month.

This kid said that he – and this was a fact corroborated by many others – was, if in “secure”, always handcuffed when being taken to court – even though they were children.

Incidentally – and this is another of those “you couldn’t make it up” facts – there is a prison van; it is used by the authorities to take adult inmates from the prison to the courts in St. Helier.

It would come from the prison – and stop en route to the courts at the child secure unit – where children in custody would be shovelled into the back of the van – with adult prisoners. The van would then take this wretched cargo to the courts – where their various fates would be decided by people like Phil Bailhache, ‘Jurat’ John Le Breton, Mike Birt and Mad Frankie Hamon.

All of whom have been involved in well-documented examples of the concealment of child abuse.

It is true that the prison van was compartmentalised – so the adult prisoners had no physical access to the children. But frequently aggressive, mocking and lewd comments would be shouted to the kids by the adults.

Which takes me onto another example. One young girl, who had an episode of being a bit rebellious – getting drunk, arguing with authorities – hell, just like me now – fell into the maw of Jersey’s youth custody system.

She, as a child, was put in the prison van with adult male prisoners – which she naturally found profoundly intimidating and frightening. As I said, the van is compartmentalised, rather than one open area – but even so – putting children, let alone female children, in such a situation serves as a stark illustration of just how much contempt and disregard Jersey’s authorities have for children.

On one of these occasions, she was taken to Jersey’s old Magistrates court – and held in the ancient, wretched brickwork cells behind the court; cells riddled with old and obscene graffiti – for about 7 hours – without being called into the court. After this tortuous experience she was simply driven back to the secure unit.

Another male child – and again, this was a common experience – when having annoyed the staff, was dragged by the hair down the corridor to be thrown into the “pits”.

Another example from a young man I spoke to in the prison.

These are his words:

“My life was ripped apart by that place.”

When being “restrained” he would “held in a head-lock”.

Another experience of these children was being grabbed by the throat and held up against the wall. One member of staff who did this was screaming at the boy, “You’ve just spoiled my meal with my family.”

This particular child was so inconvenient and problematic for the unit’s management that he was confined to the “pits” – the bare cells – in solitary confinement.

Well – so were a lot of other kids.

But for 9 months?

As he put it:

“Yeah – 9 f**king months!”

During this episode there was a period when a new fence was being put up. This meant he couldn’t exercise in the isolation area for security reasons – so he was kept in his lonely cell for 24 hours a day for a whole week.

This young man said to me;

“I’m mentally scarred by it”.

“Depressed”.

“My memory tries to block it out”

“Not a day goes by without me thinking about it.”

Moving on to yet another boy’s experiences.

This young man was “thrown against the wall by [an identified] member of staff.”

At one point he fell and badly cut his leg which bled heavily. The response of the unit was to confine him to the solitary confinement “pits” – as punishment for supposedly “self-harming”.

Self-harming, incidentally, is a very common experience amongst these children.

He, as did others, also said that “the kids in the “pits” were not even fed properly. We’d be given reduced portions; sometimes only two meals a day.”

Yet another kid was kept in solitary for two months.

He said that “during bang-up, he’d be lucky to see staff twice a day.”

A lot of these kids ended up in the secure units for trivia – for example, “stealing a few packets of bacon.”

Yet others, ended up in these places for the supposed purpose of “safe custody” – because they were being battered by their mum’s boy friend.

The kind of thing these kids could expect was to be “slapped about by staff”, and in some cases, “jumped on”.

Yet another reported being assaulted by a senior [named] member of staff, who “back-handed him across the face”.

Another kid – spoke of being “taken out for ice-creams” by a [named] member of staff who would use the opportunity to “touch him up”.

This kid said that the “main reason for being f**ked-up was being in [named institution].

I don’t know how much longer I can go on for right now; I have screeds of this stuff, and could recount it for hours.

I’ll try and finish with a few brief examples.

Another man, when he was a kid, had had his arm badly broken in a vicious assault by a senior [named] member of staff.

The hospital were told it was “a sporting accident”.

All of these victims said the “standard” of “education” they received had been “crap” to non-existent. To which I said – ‘hey! Join the club. I was “educated” by Mike Vibert – Jersey’s Education Minister.’

But joking aside.

All of them said that during their time in child custody, none of them had received therapy, psychological help, emotional support, mentoring – nor any form of independent advocacy.

So – there they all languish – in jail.

As I said – it was a tragic experience. Both prison staff – and sadly many of the inmates themselves – openly said they’d be back inside within three months of release.

Violence and drugs were by far the main reasons for them being inside.

One of the first things one young man said to me – in what was an open and emotional statement of the truth – was:

“Stuart – we’re all here because we’re f**king junkies. We’re screwed up. My family home was bad enough. But the child nicks – they just destroyed us. All I can do outside is fight and take drugs; it’s the only way of coping.”

When in the prison, one of my last interviews was with a man just a couple of years younger than me.

He was one of the first people to contact me last year. I met-up with him and listened to his experiences then. I had tried to contact him several times this year, but couldn’t get hold of him.

It really was no surprise to discover that he was back inside.

This man lived in the same wretched, back-street slum as me when we were kids.

I even remember having a fight with him.

Our mothers were drinking buddies.

This man – by his own admission – is “no angel”.

He is a well-documented local villain – with some really bad form behind him – I mean serious violence and heavy drug usage.

He and I – contemporaries in virtually all respects.

He – a chronic villain – me a Senator.

A simple twist of fate.

He ended up in Jersey’s child custody system – I didn’t.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, when speaking with my contemporary, “I felt the heat of the night hit me like freight train – moving – with a simple twist of fate.”

There, but for not falling into the hands of the States of Jersey, go I.

This undoubtedly criminal man was a child once.

A child like so many of us – surrounded by dysfunction.

Naturally intelligent, articulate – and argumentative. He could, with the right support, have made something of his life.

Instead – he got into some petty, juvenile mischief – and fell into the life-destruction machine of Jersey’s child custody system.

A couple of months ago, some commenters asked me who, or what, is “The Pinball Wizard”.

All will be revealed in due course – for the moment, it’s enough to know that the child who was a contemporary of mine, was a regular victim of “The Pinball Wizard.”

His articulacy, intelligence and defiance – naturally – made him a great source of irritation to staff. This led to him suffering such abuses as “The Pinball Wizard” storming into the secure unit’s classroom – and in front of other kids – punching this child in the face with a right hook so hard it knocked him from the stool on which he was sitting – and as he lay dazed on the floor, he had a foot placed on his chest, whilst “The Pinball Wizard” screamed at him – “with the veins bulging and purple in his neck” – “this is what we do to scum like you!”

As I said – correlation does not necessarily equal causation; some of these young men may have been drawn to a life of crime in any event. But we are not merely relying on probability and chance.

In these people – and tragically so many others like them – we see such a powerful correlation as to satisfy an epidemiologist.

Maybe if that child who was a contemporary of mine, hadn’t been abused, neglected, imprisoned for several years as a child, been brutalised and savagely assaulted and beaten – perhaps he would not have committed his succession of serious crimes.

One thing all civilised people can be certain of – treating children with such barbarism and contempt is hardly likely to turn out model citizens.

One of the stark facts I was left with was how virtually all of them never understood that the barbarism they were subjected to was unlawful and unambiguously criminal.

It was quite tragic to hear so many of them say “well, we were no angels, we had broken the law – so we just thought stuff like being beaten up and kept in solitary cells for weeks or months at a stretch was normal; was to be expected.”

Remember – everything I describe above is post-Haute de la Garenne.

Some of this culture of contempt and institutional abuse towards kids was taking place until recently; for example – the extremely damaging use of extended periods of punitive and coercive solitary confinement against children.

This was only stopped about 18 months ago – and even then, only because of the fuss caused by Simon Bellwood – who bravely took a stand against such barbarisms.

So, remember – when considering the Jersey child abuse disaster – the culture of abuse – the culture of concealment – did not stop when Haute de la Garenne closed.

It continues to this day.

Contemporary Jersey politicians still – in the teeth of all the evidence – lie about these things.

In the real world – people would long ago have recognised the game was up. The truth would have been accepted, and amends made.

But facing and absorbing the truth like that just isn’t “The Jersey Way”.

Too vulgar and “impolite” – not to mention profoundly damaging to the island’s oligarchy.

In the mean time we, as a society, continue to cause, compound and accrue – shattered lives.

There in Jersey’s prison languish a variety of individuals, older now – and in many cases hardened crooks.

But behind that brute fact of their existence today – stand children.

Children who were damaged, messed-up, maybe a bit off the rails and in need of a little help and guidance.

Children.

Who we treated like filth.

Children.

‘As you sew, so you shall reap.’

Stuart.

‘YOU DIRTY OLD MAN’

Another day –

Time to expose another atrocity.

A reader has submitted yet another comment which hints at yet more atrocities committed against children in Jersey – and as with the comment concerning Peter Manton – I know exactly what the reader is referring to.

As the dam appears to be breaking at last, I’ll now add what I know of this episode to what is, clearly, a very substantial body of public knowledge – knowledge which has existed for a very long time, but which Jersey’s climate of fear has kept unspoken.

Before going on to recount what I know – I’d like to say to any victims of this episode – you are not alone. There are many others like you. Speak to the NSPCC. Speak to the States of Jersey Police Force.

Now is the time to unite – and speak out.

This is what my reader said:

“The plot thickens! I wonder who else amongst Jersey’s ever so distinguished government and residence will be exposed for what they really are?

Many, many years ago when aged about 14/15, a well known and convicted Jersey paedophile told me (as he and his sicko friends entrapped me), that he supplied children from HDG and Jersey in general, to well known TV personalities!

The link between Jersey paedophilia and these `celebs’ was the Jersey `Opera House’!”

To understand this episode, let us delve back into the dark and wretched days of the 1960’s through to the early 1980’s – and ‘The Jersey Way’ of dealing with vulnerable children in “care” during that period.

I left school at the age of 15 in 1980. Amongst Jersey children of that era there was a very common term of abuse which was considered one of the gravest insults – which demanded a fight in response – or, if the other kid was bigger than you, setting fire to his bike using a can of lighter fluid.

Even amongst the drunken, cursing, filthy and neglected children from the underclass of St. Helier’s back-street slums – where misery, dysfunction and alcoholism were the only inheritance – to go around calling another kid a “Jeff” was to call down upon you a vendetta of Corsican proportions.

In the slum in which I existed, Clarence Court, even calling another kid’s father a drunken bastard would often be greeted with calm equanimity – as so many of them were, such an observation would be regarded as little more than a value-free statement of fact.

So, what is the origin of the insulting phrase, ‘you Jeff’?

It is taken from the name of a notorious Jersey paedophile, Jeff Le Marquand.

He was convicted for child abuse and served his sentence in Jersey’s prison. When released he simply resumed running his eponymously titled clothing and camping shop – which, though he is long deceased, is still open for business in St. Helier’s Bath Street.

Back in those days’ paedophile prosecutions in Jersey were only a little more rare than they are today. So the fact he was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to an, albeit, short prison term was regarded as really quite remarkable.

It was said at the time, “if they’ve ‘done’ him – the real extent and nature of his crimes must be very bad – very bad indeed.”

Yes.

They were.

For in addition to being a child abuser himself – he would procure and pimp children – often from Haute de la Garenne – to child abusers taking their customary sodomy summer break in Jersey’s holiday season.

And not just any abusers. For as my reader correctly points out – Le Marquand would ply performing celebrities with children to abuse during their performances at Jersey’s main theatre, the Opera House.

Perhaps survivors out there can supply us with a few more names.

But for the moment, let us consider just one of these TV “personalities.”

The actor Wilfrid Bramble.

Bramble would sexually abuse children procured for him by Le Marquand in the depths of the maze of back-rooms behind the stage of Jersey’s Opera House.

Bramble – and other ‘clients’ of Le Marquand – would commit foul abuses upon the defenceless and vulnerable children of Jersey’s orphanages.

From what I can gather these atrocities were conducted for many, many years – and engaged in by a number of different ‘celebrities.’

Some of whom might yet still be alive.

From what I can gather, this paedophile ring was extensive and persisted for a very long time. And as it involved ferrying children to and from the orphanages – probably disguised as a ‘charitable’ trip out to meet the ‘stars’ – a lot of people in positions of authority must have known about it.

A culture of abuse which persisted for a very long time – and was extensive.

The authorities must have known about it.

Perhaps this is why, when Le Marquand was caught, he faced limited charges – and didn’t receive a sentence of appropriate length.

For if they’d prosecuted him for all of his crimes – and given him 25 years – he would have sung like the proverbial canary.

And who knows what apocalypse that would have brought down upon the Jersey oligarchy?

This is how the culture of concealment works.

This is ‘The Jersey Way’.

We can further illustrate that fact by citing two more examples.

The McGuires – foul thugs who abused children routinely for a decade. These are the couple who were door-stepped by the BBC and featured in the Panorama program on child abuse in Jersey.

Having escaped punishment for years – via several departmental cover-ups, the McGuires eventually came to the attention of the Police in 1998. They were charged, brought to a committal hearing – then – mysteriously the kids who were the victims were called together for a bizarre evening meeting at Jersey social services’ headquarters.

At a meeting led by the now infamous Danny Wherry – the kids were lied to and conned into believing the charges had to be dropped.

Had the trial gone ahead, the best part of two decades of grotesque incompetence, dishonesty, malfeasance and ethical bankruptcy would have all come out in open court.

And the Jersey oligarchy couldn’t have that now, could they?

So the then Attorney General, Michael Birt – now Deputy Bailiff – came to Jersey’s Royal Court, and informed it that he was withdrawing the charges “for lack of evidence”.

The same Attorney General – for the same reasoning – did not prosecute the then headmaster of Victoria College – Jack Hydes – for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and for breaking the Children (Jersey) Law 1969 by failing in the unambiguous duty to protect children from harm and the risk of harm.

Hydes was terribly clever – he played the Jersey Evening Post off against the local political establishment. Telling The Rag he’d spill the beans to them when the time was right – and then telling the rest of the oligarchy that if he was prosecuted – and if he didn’t receive a huge pay-off – he’d tell the paper everything.

Naturally – a big payoff was duly forthcoming.

Hydes is still alive – out there somewhere – and probably a very worried reader of this blog.

Perhaps Hydes would care to spill the beans now? Now that the time of truth has arrived?

How he – and his them deputy headmaster – now a ‘Jurat’ of Jersey’s Royal Court – John le Breton – pro-actively attempted to cover-up the abuses?

It doesn’t seem likely somehow.

Telling the truth just isn’t ‘The Jersey Way’ – just too terribly vulgar.

So those are three documented examples of the culture of concealment – establishment damage-limitation at work.

Pretty much just as is happening now in respect of the present abuse enquiries.

The McGuires? Let off the hook – as a trial would have been far too damaging to the powers that be.

Jack Hydes and John Le Breton – not even placed on the hook in the first place – so apocalyptically bad for the Jersey oligarchy would have been the prosecutions.

And Jeff Le Marquand – not really highly placed in the establishment – just a shop-keeper – who became too reckless in committing his crimes, so had to face some justice. But nothing like as much as he should have. Had he faced a couple of decades in jail – you could be quite sure he’d of broken the Jersey oligarchy omerta.

So he – and his foul, child abusing ‘clients’ – like Wilfrid Bramble – escaped justice.

For those of you who don’t know, Bramble acted in a British sit-com called Steptoe & Son. He acted the hated, aged father. The catchphrase of the son was to call him “you dirty old man.”

There was a time when I could have regarded such a phrase as merely scripted comedy.

Now – and knowing what I know today – I can’t help but wonder whether routinely calling Bramble “you dirty old man” wasn’t what passed for a knowing irony amongst his colleagues.

“You dirty old man” – indeed.

Frankly – it’s one of my less paranoid suppositions. And of quite a moderate kind considering the far worse – and evidenced – examples of abuse and concealment I know of.

Sat here at my lonely screen and contemplating what all these terrible things say about us, I find myself coming to an ever more frequent conclusion

That there’s only one thing I’m afraid of – humans.

People are terrifying.

Stuart.

Reverend Peter Geoffrey Kevvit Manton.

Nazi – as well as child rapist.

Some very useful references were suggested by commenters which have shed some light on the festering murk of the late Peter Manton – former Vice-Dean of Jersey’s Anglican Church – former Senator in the Jersey parliament – and child rapist.

I quote some of the facts we were referred to below.

The information is taken from the book ‘Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organisations’, by Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley.

Entry number 681 is to be found on page 195. I reproduce it here.

WISE (Welsh Irish Scots English)

Dates: 1974 – present.

Founded in 1974 as an anti-immigration association with links to the National Front [639] and the Monday Club [116]. WISE was led by Joan Mason, a former civil servant. Other members have included Lt. Col. Robert Gayre, of Gayre & Nig, Brigadier Hugh McIntyre and the Revd. P.G. K. Manton. [Emphasis added] It opposes black immigration, calls for the repatriation of settled blacks and seeks to ‘defend’ white culture against alien influence. Its rallies have been attended by Nazis, and in the early 1980’s, by Rightwing Conservative MP’s. Since 1984, bad publicity has caused a decline in membership.

References: A. Maolain 1987; Hill, 1988.”

May I repeat the offer I made in my post of last night to listen to anyone who had experiences of this monster? He may be dead – but others he was in league with may still be around. As may those who covered-up his abuses.

We owe it to the children of today and of the future to expose and crush child abuse.

My e-mail address is: st.syvret@gmail.com

Now is the time to root-out the truth concerning people like Peter Manton.

Child rapist – and Nazi.

The Jersey Establishment: don’t you just love them?

Stuart.

ECCLESIASTICAL ABUSE.

Jersey Child Abuse Disaster:

The Church Hoves into View.

It was only ever a matter of time.

Earlier today a reader posted the following comment, after some similar correspondence on my comments section:

“Re the Anglican church!

I am only mentioning the Anglican Church, and in particular one `Vice Dean’ (who by the way was also a member of the States of Jersey elite), as I know for `fact’ that he raped and sexually assaulted Island children!

Similarly, I am now of the belief that he was part of a much wider paedophile ring!”

Yes – I know precisely what this commenter is referring to.

Would I be right in thinking it is the Reverend Peter Manton?

Sometime Vice-Dean of Jersey?

Then a Senator in the States of Jersey, the island’s parliament – who had to be ushered out of his seat early because of his attempts to take sexual advantage of a vulnerable alcoholic woman?

The Reverend Peter Manton – rapist of 13 year-old girls?

Yes – tragically – as others have remarked on this blog and elsewhere – even what is in the public domain so far is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Perhaps I’ll write in more detail about this issue in a later post.

I have a great failing as a person; I’m too trusting. I take people at face-value – only to be always let down by 99% of them – at least in the world of politics.

And the Church is politics.

I thought, at first, the present Dean of Jersey – the Very Reverend Bob Key – was going to be OK.

Bizarrely, the Dean has an automatic seat (non-voting) in the island’s parliament. A position which enables him to make speeches to the assembly – and have a profound influence on votes.

But then we get to my Christmas speech – in which I was trying to show some empathy and recognition for abuse survivors – which was stopped by Phil Bailhache and the rest of the gangsters.

Key said nothing at the time; nor did he make any attempt to contact me afterwards.

Out of curiosity, I e-mailed him and asked what he thought of events. He equivocated, evaded – and basically failed to back my position.

I was even nearly surprised by this pro-Jersey oligarchy stance.

Especially so when the media storm erupted a couple of months later – and he called and led a service of remembrance for the victims – in which, during his sermon, he used exactly the same biblical quotes I had been prevented from delivering at Christmas.

But having since learned of Manton being a child-rapist – a Vice Dean of Jersey – suddenly, Key’s attitude all makes sense.

He will know – for sure – the truth of Manton. Churches keep their histories carefully.

As we all know.

Maintaining the fictitious facade of such institutions – and profoundly ill-judged attempts to defend their credibility – has always been a higher priority to Churches than defending and protecting vulnerable children.

Just witness the monstrous cover-ups of child abuse engaged in by the Catholic Church – at the highest levels.

So – the time has come in this wretched saga to take a cold, hard look at the Churches in Jersey.

Like I said – it was an inevitability.

Word has reached me of several Churchmen desperately trying to smear me to anyone who will listen; they dismiss me as some kind of communist, anarchist – and general trouble-make – who no one should speak to or contact.

(Incidentally – a similar strategy is being used by many of Jersey’s lawyers. They too have an awful lot to hide – given their atrocious failure to properly represent victims over the decades.)

So – we are forced to conclude that the Church institutions in Jersey must have a good deal to hide.

If, indeed, not a number of individual Church figures who remain around in the island today.

Now is the time for the reckoning.

To expose the truth, deliver justice to the victims – and to make these institutions learn that such foulness can no longer be concealed.

Now is the time for people to come forward.

Could I make a plea for any other victims of Manton – or victims of any other Jersey oligarchy figures – to please contact me in strict confidence?

I know some people are so traumatised; they don’t want to go to the police, and face questioning and court appearances as witnesses. Understandably, they want to try and leave all that foulness behind and get on with their lives.

But it’s crucial that someone in authority learns your truth. Even if it’s only me. The more I learn – the more we can battle to change things and try to prevent these atrocities taking place again.

Here’s my address: st.syvret@gmail.com

This is the time to expose the truth.

I know it’s difficult for survivors to speak of these things – but the children of today – and of the future – need our unity to deliver them safety and protection.

Thanks.

Stuart.

SLOWLY – THE AWFUL TRUTH EMERGES.

UK News Paper, the News of the World:

Exclusive Report on Jersey Child Abuse disaster.

Today’s edition of the News of the World, a UK newspaper, leads with an exclusive report on the States of Jersey Police investigation into child abuse in Jersey.

The paper’s sources have revealed to it the general conclusions of the specific investigation into abuses and murders committed over many decades at the infamous Haute de la Garrene children’s “home”.

The conclusions are truly appalling – though tragically, not a surprise to those of us familiar with the entire dreadful episode.

I reproduce the News of the World article in full below this brief post.

Can I again make a plea to anyone who had any bad experiences as a child in the Jersey institutions, and any witnesses – even if you heard something from a friend or relative who experienced cruelty, violence or sexual abuse – to please contact the police investigation team.

There are also dedicated help lines available for anyone who just needs to speak with someone about their experiences.

These are the important contact details:

The States of Jersey Police have worked closely with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. There is a dedicated operation for people to call in connection with anything that happened in Jersey. It is UK based and is open to anyone who may have been affected by child abuse in Jersey. The line is open between 9 am and midnight UK time.

NSPCC helpline:

If you are calling from the United Kingdom please use this number:

0800 169 1173

If you are calling from anywhere else in the world, please use this number:

+44 (0)20 7825 7489

The States of Jersey historic child abuse enquiry team can also be reached at a specific number:

0800 735 7777

The States of Jersey Police can also be contacted via e-mail at:

sojp@jersey.pnn.police.uk

Should you wish to contact me, my e-mail address is:

st.syvret@gov.je

The News of the World article, reproduced below – sadly – provides a succinct summation of what took place and the conclusions of the States of Jersey Police Force.

The article requires no explanation or elaboration from me.

Read it and weep.

Stuart.

HELLFIRE

Jersey home dossier to reveal children were murdered…then burnt
Exclusive by Lucy Panton

A SHOCK secret police report into the Jersey House of Hell children’s home reveals youngsters there WERE murdered then BURNED in a furnace to COVER UP the atrocities.

It’s feared island authorities may try to hush up the dossier on Haut de la Garenne orphanage but a source told us: “Officers on this case are in NO DOUBT what went on.”

Exclusive: Secret Police Dossier Reveals Horror of Jersey Hell Home.

All the Kiddie Killers Left were Burnt Bones and Teeth.

Innocent children WERE raped, murdered and their bodies then BURNT in a FURNACE at the Jersey House of Horrors, says a top-secret police report into the scandal.

News of the World investigation reveals cops have shocking new evidence of how the killings were COVERED UP at the Haut de la Garenne care home.

Our chilling revelations come as officers prepare to hand over their damning dossier from Britain’s biggest ever child abuse probe to the island’s States of Jersey authorities.

A total of 65 teeth and around 100 charred fragments of bones are all that remain of victims detectives believe were abused and killed before their tortured corpses were thrown into a fiery grave inside the house of hell.

But records of children who stayed at the home over past decades have been destroyed so police have an impossible task of putting names to their grim finds.

A source close to the four-month investigation told us: “There’s NO doubt in the minds of the detectives on this case that children WERE murdered in the home.

“Officers believe they have compelling evidence that youngsters’ bodies were burnt in the home’s furnace then the remains swept into the soil floor in the cellars—the area that became dubbed ‘the torture rooms’.

Ripped

“The problem has been identifying the children that went missing over the years. No records were kept of who came and left that place.

“Kids were shipped to the home from all over the UK and were never heard of again.
“All the inquiry team have to go on is this grim collection of teeth and bone fragments and no names to match up to the remains.

“Because this investigation has seen so many twists and turns people seem to find it hard to accept that children WERE slaughtered and their deaths WERE covered up.”

Most of the dental remains discovered have been identified as children’s milk teeth. And we can reveal that among more than 100 bone fragments is a TIBIA from a child’s leg and what police believe is an “intact” ADENOID bone from the ear of an infant.

These were all retrieved from a fingertip search of the four cellars in the Home’s EAST WING.

Forensic teams also found STRANDS OF NYLON which they have concluded came from the head of a broom.

And, because those type of nylon brooms were only used in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the discovery helped officers to put a date on when the bones were swept into the soil floor.

Cops are now convinced that those charred bones and teeth were emptied from the bottom of the home’s industrial furnace—located away in the West Wing—when it was ripped out around that time to install oil-fired central heating.

Officers have spoken to builders who worked on renovations at the home but have been unable to discover what happened to the furnace after that. But they have taken samples from the chimney breast which was left behind.

Around that same time wooden floorboards were laid OVER the old soil floor in the east wing.

And it is there, within the hidden torture chambers just inches below, that the bones, a pair of shackles and children’s clothing were found.

Also in the underground rooms police discovered a large concrete bath with traces of blood. A builder has also given evidence that he was asked to dig two lime pits in the ground nearby around that period. Lime pits have often been used to destroy corpses.

So far 97 people have come forward to complain they were abused as children at Haut de la Garenne. Many have described being drugged, shackled, raped, flogged and held in a dark cellar for long periods.

Much of the clothing found at the scene is thought to date back to the 1960s and 1970s when youngsters had to make their own clothes and shoes in the care home work shop.

Cops now believe that whoever was responsible for removing the furnace KNEW that there were children’s remains inside. And they think it was moved while disgraced headmaster Colin Tilbrook was in charge of the place.

Tilbrook, now dead, has been described by former charges as being behind “some of the most horrific abuse” at the home.

We can reveal that cops now plan to quiz one of his closest aides who is still alive and living in the UK.

Tilbrook, who ran the home in the 1960s, died aged 62 in 1988 after suffering a heart attack in a public swimming pool. His foster daughter Tina Blee, 38, recently made an emotional visit to Haut de la Garenne to meet abuse victims and bravely told how SHE was raped by the monster every week as a child, after he took her in following his departure from Jersey.

She said: “I needed to come here to say sorry for what he’s done. If children were killed here I’m convinced he played a big part in it.

“He was more than capable of murder.”

This week police began a forensic examination inside a nearby World War II German bunker which victims say was used as a base for abusing children.

Six witnesses say they were sexually assaulted by staff at the squat brick building which houses a network of underground rooms and passages.

As that work starts, police have closed the doors on their detailed forensic hunt inside the hell home.

Lack of records still hampers police. But we can reveal that one mainland authority, Birmingham City Council, has presented the Jersey force with a list of children who were sent to the home but went missing.

Although four have now been tracked down, after a mammoth search one still remains unaccounted for.

Earlier this year we also uncovered allegations that pictures of BABIES being raped were taken in the care home and circulated by an international child porn ring.

Stash

Experts suspect the home was responsible for many of the seedy network’s 9,000 sick pictures, discovered in an infamous haul in Holland in the Nineties.

It was dubbed the Zandvoort stash, after the town where it was found—but the source studio was never uncovered.

Police said their latest intensive probe at Haut de la Garenne has produced more than 40 suspects.

Three men have already been charged with sex abuse offences as part of the inquiry. But now, despite the wealth of shocking detail uncovered by officers, there are fears the full truth about the House of Hell could be covered up yet again after the investigation boss, Jersey’s tough No2 top cop Lenny Harper, retires next month.

Haut de la Garenne’s abused former residents have repeatedly claimed that what happened was deliberately hushed up to avoid tarnishing Jersey’s reputation as a family-friendly tourist haven and to give politicians in London no excuse to try to exercise more control over the island.

Although Jersey is part of the British Isles and under the Queen’s rule, it has a separate government system and makes its own laws.

Jersey’s 53-member parliament has no political parties and its politicians, judges, policemen and business leaders come from a small elite—often linked by friendship or family.

In a separate case recently investigators were frustrated by the island’s legal authorities who refused to charge a couple accused of beating their foster children with cricket bats. Despite being told by lawyers and an honorary police officer who reviewed the case that there was sufficient evidence to go ahead, the charges were blocked at the 11th hour.

A police source said: “The argument for not charging this couple was that their natural children have said they’re of good character.

“The detailed statements of all the people who claim they were physically assaulted seem to count for nothing.”

The Haut de la Garenne file, along with several others, is now complete but is “being held up” by lawyers.

Our inside source added: “There’s a strong suspicion that the files are being held on to until Lenny Harper goes and a new team is in place.

“No one will be surprised if the truth about what happened in the care home never surfaces and once more the evidence gets swept under the carpet.”

THE CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT:

Child Abuse in Jersey,

And the continuing suppression of the truth.

I wrote a brief post last night in which I drew your attention to yesterday’s editorial comment in the Jersey Evening Post – the island’s only newspaper – implacable mouth-piece of Jersey’s oligarchy – and enemy of this community.

Many people who read this blog are not based in Jersey.

I know that a number of concerned people, campaigners and journalists from around the world follow, with incredulity, the tragedy and farce of public administration in this island.

Though it was never my intention or wish to have written so much about the Jersey child abuse disaster on this site, that subject has come to dominate both my posts and reader’s comments, as can be seen when looking back over the last five months.

Many of the particular strands of the whole, wretched episode are complex, and difficult to fully comprehend in detail. But it is, in fact, quite easy to gain an accurate and well-founded understanding of what has taken place – and continues to take place – in Jersey.

In essence, there is a single, fundamental question which implacably confronts us in the Jersey child abuse disaster.

And, in essence, there is a single, fundamental answer to that question.

The question is this:

‘How can it have been possible for the culture of abuse to have continued for decades upon decades, for 98% of that abuse to have been concealed, and for the island’s establishment and its media to have succeeded in maintaining the culture of concealment until 2007?’

And the answer to that question is this:

‘All meaningful power in Jersey resides in the hands of a narrow, entrenched ruling elite who occupy and control the judiciary, big business, the prosecution service, the legislature, the executive and the local media – all of which unite in a common purpose when the status quo needs protecting.’

You consider this answer to be too paranoid to be credible?

A stark exhibit of evidence which shows the plain truth of the answer is to be observed in last night’s Jersey Evening Post leader comment – which they have, incidentally, now placed on their web site following my criticisms of their clear wish to keep the absurd screed out of national view.

Earlier in the post, I made the point that, in many ways, the fundamental problem continues to take place in Jersey. That we haven’t “moved on” from the central, cultural problem which enabled the depth and magnitude of the child abuse disaster.

And in the pathetic Andrew Williamson report – and the predictably dishonest editorial comment of The Rag – we see – tragically – the culture of concealment still, starkly displayed in the response of Jersey’s oligarchy.

Let us take a close look at the spin, omissions and sophistry of the comment on a stage-by-stage basis.

The comment begins thus:

“The investigation into child abuse at Haut de la Garenne involves offences allegedly committed many years ago.”

This assertion is a frankly embarrassing example of the transparent spin-campaign placed on events by the Jersey establishment.

Firstly, it names Haute de la Garenne in the first line – and then goes onto assert that the offences were committed “many years ago.”

The purpose of this spin is three-fold. Firstly – it seeks to maintain the focus on Haute de la Garenne – and thus continue the attempts by the Jersey establishment to divert and distract people from the fact – for it is a fact – that abuse was committed over a sustained period at a variety of other Jersey child institutions; for that is the true extent of the culture of child abuse.

Secondly, it again pushes the Jersey oligarchy spin that the abuse was committed “many years ago” – and therefore almost doesn’t matter – and because it was ‘all such a long time ago’ no parallels can be drawn between today’s child “protection” apparatus, and all the historic failures. But in truth, the problem – the culture of concealment – persists to the present day – as is proven by the JEP leader comment.

Thirdly – by making its assertion, The Rag further strives to distract people away from the real issue. How is this so? Because the Andrew Williamson report – and my response to it which form the subject matter of the comment – does not deal with Haute de la Garenne. The Williamson report covers only recent issues – indeed, in a stark illustration of just how worthless the Williamson report is – so recent he wouldn’t even deal in detail with the abusive “Grand Prix” regime which was only stopped 18 months ago – thanks to the brave efforts of Simon Bellwood, the whistle-blower – and which was one of the prime triggers of the whole controversy.

So, we have established that the very first line of the comment is calculatedly diversionary, irrelevant to the particular subject matter at hand and is an attempt to con people into thinking the abuse was all a long time ago – so ‘don’t worry, everything in the garden is rosy today.’

The Rag’s comment continues thus:

“In spite of this, the whole grim affair has cast a shadow over the Island’s child protection system.”

Again – and as already established above – the “grim affair” is not confined to only Haute de la Garenne. Though quite dreadful enough – if only we were dealing with just one institution – the controversy may have assumed lesser proportions. But instead, the extent and depth of the culture of child abuse which we are confronting – and the attendant culture of concealment – are the things which have caused the Jersey child abuse disaster to become – quite rightly – a matter of great interest to the national and international media.

‘Rightly’ – because, let’s face it – if the victims, the police and the campaigners were relying on the local media to convey the truth, we’d get nowhere. As reading The Rag’s comment proves.

The sentence quoted above is accurate in one respect – namely that a shadow has been cast over Jersey’s so-called child “protection” apparatus. And given the scale, persistence and extent of the child protection failures, the resultant shadow is vast and deep.

But in Jersey Evening Post world – it is the shadow that is the problem. But as any thinking person can see – the shadow, the controversy, are merely symptoms of the real problem; namely a multi-decade culture of contempt, disregard and cruelty – and worse – towards vulnerable children.

The JEP leader comment then states this:

“That shadow has been darkened by Senator Syvret’s insistence that the system has been failing and that children are still, or have recently been, in danger because of harsh regimes and institutional negligence.”

Firstly, let us observe again The Rag’s spin that ‘the shadow’ is the problem – rather than the persistent neglect, cruelty, battery and rape of vulnerable children.

And in the sentence quoted, they introduce me into their spin as a part of ‘the problem’. Clever, no? Could have been written by a spin-doctor – well, it was actually, but let us not be diverted by that. But such is the absence of subtlety; you could take this as an object lesson in ‘attack being the best form of defence.’

Let us also note that The Rag refers to “Senator Syvret’s insistence that the system has been failing”. Again – in this phraseology we see an embarrassingly obvious attempt to further depict me as a part of the problem, because of my “insistence”.

This also serves as yet further evidence of just how and why widespread child abuse could have persisted in Jersey for generations. In how many normal societies – just ask yourself – would a person campaigning on behalf of survivors be condemned for their “insistence” on carrying on their work for the vulnerable?

It just wouldn’t happen in any functioning, respectable democracy. And a couple of people at The Rag know this perfectly well – hence their pathetic attempt to get away with not posting their comment on their web site. They knew that real journalists and other observers would read the comment – and see immediately just how profoundly the Jersey Evening Post is a part of the culture of concealment.

There is also a more subtle, but even more ethically bankrupt, spin in the sentence quoted.

By stating that the continuing concerns are merely at my “insistence”, The Rag deliberately implies that the concerns which have been expressed, are just some kind of figment of my imagination; that there is no evidence to justify my concerns, and those of others.

Now – pay attention – this is yet another stark demonstration of the real problem in Jersey – the arrogance and hubris of the powerful – and their wish – and ability – to simply lie and conceal the truth.

For not only are my concerns, and those of other people, well-evidenced – but rather embarrassingly for the JEP, I have actually furnished them with significant parts of that evidence.

Now, can we guess how The Rag responded to the receipt of clear evidence for massive dysfunction in Jersey’s soi-disant child “protection” apparatus?

They chose to suppress that evidence.

As I have written previously, I leaked a copy of the Sharp report, a report into a major child abuse scandal at a Jersey school, to the Jersey Evening Post. I actually took it there in person and met with the journalist dealing with the story, the editor and the deputy editor to who I gave a copy of the document. From that day until this – they didn’t print a single key fact revealed in that report.

‘But’ – they will argue – I ‘gave them that report in the year 2000, and it dealt with a scandal which took place during the 1990’s’. ‘It isn’t’, The Rag will argue, ‘relevant to the question of recent or current child protection failures.’

To which there are two responses.

Firstly, to claim the issues revealed in the Sharp report are not relevant is simply wrong.

The JEP says that it is merely my “insistence” – “that children are still, or have recently been, in danger because of harsh regimes and institutional negligence.”
The gross, disgusting and systemic institutional failures – and those of several named individuals, as described in the Sharp report – is demonstrably of relevance to today’s concerns.

Not least because several of the senior civil servants who failed in that case remain working in an educational or social services environment. Can we – therefore –state with confidence that today’s child “protection” systems are reliable – as The Rag and Williamson would have us believe?

Clearly – no.

There is also an even more serious and profound reason as to why the Sharp report remains very – very – relevant today.

Because several present members of the judiciary played a role in the cover-up and concealment of that abuse episode during the 1990’s.

The very, self-same judiciary which is now insisting it can deal properly with child abuse court-cases.

So when the Jersey Evening Post claims that this evidence and the issues are irrelevant, we have to ask what most people would think?

What do you think? A judiciary who’s senior members are actors in the culture of concealment?

Irrelevant?

I don’t think so.

But we needn’t even use the Sharp report in our argument. Let us set it aside. A variety of other, more recent, evidence – evidence of “harsh regimes and institutional negligence” – has been furnished to The Rag throughout much of last year.

To cite just a few examples:

The report into the Blanche Pierre abuse episode – and the eventual, but corrupted, trial of the two perpetrators (who were tracked-down and door-stepped by BBC Panorama) – was supplied to the JEP – by me – last summer.

The case of the paedophile Martin Cougan who worked at the Heathfield children’s home – where he embarked upon an abusive relationship with a teenage resident. When management – the same management which exists today – discovered the abuse, they said to Cougan that he could just resign – and no more would be said about it, provided he left the island. A stark and recent example of the culture of concealment. And what does Williamson say of that episode – and several others like it? Nothing. So that is the worth of the Williamson report and the JEP’s support for it.

The Rag was also supplied with the so-called “Grand Prix” document – a policy which was such a stark example of institutionalised abuse that even Williamson said such practices were unacceptable and could never be condoned. Grand Prix was worse than the infamous Pindown policies of Staffordshire County Council in the 1980’s.

A four page initial legal opinion by Chris Callander of the Howard League for Penal Reform, in which he described the Grand Prix policy as unlawful. This document too was furnished to The Rag, by me, last year.

I also supplied them with written evidence – in the form of an e-mail – which proves that the letter sent to Frank Walker by the then Chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee demanding my sacking – on the grounds that I was supposedly “undermining staff morale” by publicly stating that the child protection system in Jersey had failed – was, in fact, authored by the Directorate Manager of Social Services, Marnie Baudains. Who just happens to be the most culpable of the present senior civil servants for the catastrophic failures.

We will return to Ms Baudains, later.

The JEP comment then states:

“Exactly what happened at Haut de la Garenne has yet to be established, but it is to be hoped that the case will have nothing to do with what happens in present-day Jersey. Senator Syvret’s allegations, however, encompass the present as well as the past and it was imperative that their substance should be investigated independently, not only for the sake of young people potentially at risk but also to throw light on the condition of our child protection agencies.”

Again we see the clear spin – the attempted diversion of focusing again on Haute de la Garenne in order to down-play the significance of the more recent cases – merely some of which I described above as examples of evidence supplied to the Jersey Evening Post by me.

Yet again, we can observe a clear and calculated attempt to attack me and con people into believing that ‘there is no evidence’, when The Rag refers to my “allegations” –implying that there was no justification for such concerns – which were merely “allegations”.

As already described – this claim by the JEP is a straight-forward lie – given hard evidence; – evidence which was supplied to them by me.

Amusingly, The Rag then says that the “substance” of my concerns needed to be “investigated independently”.

I’ve already explained merely some of the evidenced substance for my concerns. So let us consider this wonderful phrase “investigated independently”.

Firstly – many of the concerns raised by me – and, indeed, other people – were not investigated at all – independently or otherwise. Huge tracts of the important issues are simply completely absent from the Williamson report. Just by way of example, consider the above-cited evidence. Where, in Williamson’s report is an investigation of those matters?

Nowhere.

Which neatly takes us on to the question of the so-called “independence” of the “investigation”.

Mr. Williamson was commissioned by Frank Walker and his Chief Executive Bill Ogley. Bill Ogley being a close friend of Health & Social Services Chief Executive Mike Pollard – whose wife, Jane Pollard, works in a senior position in the States of Jersey Human Resources department.

Given this decidedly non-“independent” commissioning group, how can anyone possibly regard the Williamson report as an “independent” investigation?

And – you couldn’t make this up – Williamson, for the first half of his supposed investigation, worked out of Frank Walker’s office. Now that’s really “independent” – isn’t it? That arrangement was only changed under the threat of a proposition to the island’s parliament, brought by me, which would have had him removed from the Chief Minister’s department.

In fact – the stark absence of “independence” – and even of an “investigation” – provides us with a clear explanation for the abundant and appalling inadequacy of Williamson’s report.

The Rag next states:

“An inquiry to be conducted by UK expert Andrew Williamson was duly commissioned and has just reported on these matters of utmost importance.”

I suppose the law of averages means that the JEP can’t be wrong all the time – so they got this much correct when they describe these matters of the ‘utmost importance’.

Which makes it even more of a pity that The Rag and Big Frank’s factotums, like Williamson, should seek to suppress the truth.

Now working our way through the comment, we begin to get to some really interesting assertions when The Rag says:

“Mr Williamson, the former head of Devon Social Services, has concluded that no children in care in the Island are currently at risk, though he condemns detention practices that now appear to be things of the past. He has also concluded that although there is room to raise standards further – as there always will be in any organisation – the children’s service is moving forward and improving.”

First, let us observe the attempted neat footwork of the JEP when they try to quickly skate around the “detention practices” – which The Rag would have us forget now as “things of the past”.

The detention practices of which we speak were such things as described in the Grand Prix document – and involved the routine coercive and punitive use of solitary confinement against already vulnerable children.

Solitary confinement which could go on for weeks – even months.

One young man recently wrote to me explaining how he had been kept in isolation – and kept in a cell which only had a skylight – for 23 hours a day – for three weeks.

It was such practices that Simon Bellwood spoke out against – and got sacked for opposing. And which in turn led to me being sacked – because when Simon came to me, I believed him – and not my senior civil servants.

Another young man was kept in such conditions for two months.

Many others had similar experiences.

Yet it is this type of abuse – of utter barbarism – that the ‘great’ Mr. Williamson and the Jersey Evening Post would glibly dodge around without honestly confronting it.

Given merely some of the above-cited evidence – what, then, are we to make of Mr. Williamson’s assertion – repeated by the Jersey Evening Post – that “no children in care in the Island are currently at risk”.

The assertion by Williamson, and repeated uncritically by The Rag – is manifestly insupportable.

And this is another – implacable – illustration of the fact that the Jersey Evening Post is a part of the problem; is a part of the culture of concealment.

The island’s vulnerable children cannot be regarded as safe and at no risk – when you have a senior management cohort of the Jersey child protection apparatus who have repeatedly demonstrated themselves utterly incompetent, dangerously neglectful, happy to design and run manifestly criminally abusive regimes against children in custody, who oppress whistle-blowers, who engage in political actions against their Ministers – and who have demonstrably and repeatedly lied.

Would you trust a vulnerable child to services under that kind of management?

Mr. Williamson, Jersey’s establishment politicians – and the Jersey Evening Post clearly would.

99% of people wouldn’t even countenance the idea.

But the fact that the Jersey oligarchy would, explains starkly just how all these dreadful things were able to happen.

The utter invulnerability and complete lack of accountability of public administration in Jersey is displayed starkly by Williamson’s report and the JEP comment, in that both together are yet another example of how the culpable are protected by the establishment.

The Rag begins to move towards the end of its comment like this:

“No one is doubting that Senator Syvret is genuinely and deeply concerned about the welfare of children in care – though it remains very hard to account for his very limited direct contact with the service when it was his political responsibility. It is, however, extremely difficult to reconcile the criticisms he continues to level at the children’s service and its personnel with Mr Williamson’s findings.”

By this they refer to assertions – made by people like Marnie Baudains – that I had no contact with social services. In order to gauge just how reliable this woman’s assertions are, let us remember that she wrote the political letter which demanded my sacking – and – of particular relevance – oversaw and endorsed and supported the oppression and sacking of Simon Bellwood. The man who was objectiing to children being locked in cells for days and weeks and months at a stretch.

I couldn’t actually estimate the very significant number of meetings I took part in over the years when she – and other wonderful examples of Jersey social services, such as Anton Skinner – were present. This was routine at H & SS Committee meetings, and, actually, it is an illustration of just how utterly incompetent she is that she neither dealt with the institutional child abuse at places like Les Chennes and Greenfields, nor reported such system-failures to me.

And this is a person who is paid in excess of £100,000 per annum – plus vast final salary pension – by hard – pressed taxpayers – for her supposed “expertise” in social work and child protection.

Indeed – the irony is that I actually had a meeting with her and Anton Skinner, called at my insistence – which took place in Maison Le Pape – the social services headquarters – during which I had to draw to their attention a variety of manifest deficiencies and flaws in a recently up-dated Child Protection Handbook.

The rag then says that it is difficult to reconcile my concerns with Mr. Williamson’s findings. Another rare example of a correct and factual statement by the Jersey Evening Post. It is indeed difficult to reconcile my concerns with the Williamson report.

This is because my concerns happen to be factual, evidenced, supported by victim testimony, that of whistle-blowers and parents and by documentation. Unlike the Williamson report. So we can’t be surprised that it does not reconcile with the facts.

The comment then criticises my criticisms levelled at the personnel of the children’s service. This is a further example of spin – and which again illustrates the causes of the Jersey child abuse disaster.

Far from me being critical of frontline staff – the vast majority do an excellent job. Contrary to The Rag’s assertions – and as explained above, and in previous blog posts – my criticisms are of the senior management of Jersey’s child protection apparatus.

But can we be surprised at the persistence of the Jersey child abuse disaster – when people like Mr. Williamson, Jersey’s politicians and the island’s only newspaper – exhibit no understanding of the fact that a great deal of the examples of malpractice, incompetence, policy failures and dishonesty amongst senior management personnel – were actually drawn to my attention by a number of brave, whistle-blowing front-line staff. People who have exhibited a degree of integrity and professionalism that is utterly shaming of their managers, contrasting as it does with the evidenced cover-ups engaged in by their bosses.

We now come to the end of The Rag’s comment:

“The Senator is now saying that what we are witnessing is a substandard report that is ‘bland, wishy-washy, hopelessly compromising, inoffensive, weak and full of sophistry’ and that insufficient attention is being paid to past gross deficiencies.”

Note how they assert that I am “now” saying that the Williamson report is substandard – implying that I thought it was going to be great – and am only condemning it now because it didn’t say what I wanted it to say.

As I remarked on several occasions on past blog entries and in responses to comments – I ceased to have any faith in Mr. Williamson months ago – as did a number of the victims and their parents – when Mr. Williamson agreed to be wheeled out like a performing monkey by the Jersey oligarchy when they were desperate for a bit of spin when the international media storm was at its height.

My description of the Williamson report as quoted by The Rag is entirely accurate; indeed – it could easily and justifiably have been a good deal more blunt.

The JEP concludes by saying:

“It is up to Islanders to judge whether there is any substance in the former Health Minister’s claims or if it is merely another manifestation of his disdain for anything that can be connected with the establishment.”

It will forever be difficult for Islanders to judge for themselves just what the facts are – given the plain and rabid desire of the Jersey establishment – and its mouthpiece, the Jersey Evening Post – to con and lie to the people of this community.

As to my “disdain” for the Jersey establishment – given the facts explained in this post – and the very public child protection disaster, which has persisted for decades – and the pro-active and public assaults on the Police investigation by the local oligarchy – which, extrordinarily, includes public assualts on the Police by the present Minister for Social Services. In just how many etsblsihments do you find the politician responsable for child protection – attacking a Police investigation into child absue? I’m pretty confident that a significant majority of islanders share such “disdain” for the establishment.

It is difficult – isn’t it – to see how the public can accurately judge these most serious matters – when the island’s only newspaper gets furnished with hard, documentary evidence of child protection failures – and then suppresses the stories?

Like I’ve said many times before – if you want to really understand how these appalling child abuses can have persisted for decades – without being exposed – you need only look at the conduct of the Jersey Evening Post; – it is a fundamental part of the problem.

As our deconstruction of its leader comment demonstrates.

Actually – it’s been quite entertaining.

They’ve produced another classic screed of ignorant garbage of pre-Victorian standards in tonight’s comment. I think I’ll undertake the same exercise upon it. It really isn’t difficult.

Stuart.

RESULT! AGAIN!

The Jersey Evening Post;

Supporting the Concealment of Child Abuse.

Again.

In recent months I – and many other people – have been explaining just how corrupt, ethically bankrupt, ignorant, arrogant – and, essentially, stupid is the Jersey oligarchy.

In essence – the case we have made is that the context – and ultimately, the explanation of – the Jersey child abuse disaster is an intrinsic characteristic of this stagnant regime.

An oligarchy which controls all instruments of power in Jersey – the legilsature, the judiciary, the executive, the civil service – and the local media.

In last night’s post I suggested we conduct an experiment in which we hypothesised just what the approach of the Jersey media would be to the White-wash report.

Essentially, that it would be a whole-sale reproduction of the Jersey establishment spin.

The result?

Bingo!

Our hypothesis is a demonstrated fact.

Check out the editorial comment in tonight’s Jersey Evening Post.

Well! – What do you know?

It isn’t on their web site – so I can’t give you the address.

So – for the time being – take my word for it; as well as proving our case, it also provides some Becketian, laugh-out-loud black humour.

I’ll post a response to it tomorrow.

In the meantime – we really have to hope The Rag stops being quite so spineless – and actually places its editorial comment on the web site – where it can be read – and consequently judged – by people around the world.

When you have a newspaper making a leader comment – but is too scared to place it where it can be read by everyone – then you have to say ‘case proven’ – so far as the corrupt alignment of Jersey media with the political establishment is concerned.

Look forward to my analysis tomorrow.

Amongst all this grimness you need to take your humour where you can find it.

Regards

Stuart.

THE WILLIAMSON REPORT.

Is it a Thick, Ultra-bright White-Wash?

Or is it a Watered-Down Can of Emulsion?

Not Capable of Concealing Mould, Decay and Rot:

Does it Even State what the Jersey Oligarchy are Claiming?

Those of you who have been regular readers of my blog will have gathered that many of the victims, their parents, whistle-blowers and I ceased to have any confidence in Andrew Williamson some months ago. Mr. Williamson being the ‘consultant’ carefully chosen by Jersey’s oligarchy to undertake a soi disant “investigation” into child care failures in the island.

For example, in response to a blog comment, I replied thus:

“But subsequently – I learnt from national journalists about Mr. Williamson; learnt that he had a reputation as a ‘fixer’ when it came to child abuse controversies; that he could be relied upon to do the bidding of his paymasters – and trot out a load of suitably bland adjudications upon past ‘unfortunate errors’, make a few equally bland recommendations – and then say – ‘apart from that – everything in the garden is rosy.’

This is his marketing device; his unique selling point.

You’re an authority with big fat loads of cash to burn? You’re faced with a child abuse scandal? No problem – call in Andrew Williamson – and he will pour oil on your troubled waters.

And this assessment of him was re-enforced quite strongly – by several different people from across the country who I spoke with at the House of Commons the other week.

Mr. Williamson is merely a ‘hired gun’; a ‘fixer’ for authorities in trouble.

Which – of course – is precisely why he was hired by the Jersey oligarchy.”

This assessment I made of Mr. Williamson and his report – prior to its publication – pretty much nailed the tone, contents and un-threatening nature of the published document.

I would certainly strongly advise any care-leavers, abuse survivors and campaigners across the country to mount a fundamental objection to Mr. Williamson – if your particular child-abuse concealing local authority seeks to hire him to carry out an “independent investigation”.

However – and but – and nevertheless – and hold on a moment!

Peel off the safety wrapper – get into the package – apply the merest of thought – and engage intellectually with the findings of the Jersey report by getting underneath the terribly, terribly polite and diplomatic language – then what does the report reveal?

Notwithstanding the best efforts to make the report polite and unthreatening – such is the depth of the scandal and manifest disastrous incompetence and dysfunction revealed in the management of Jersey’s child protection apparatus – there is only one general interpretation that can be placed upon the report’s findings.

That is: they are – utterly damning.

As I said – one does have to actually think about what the report is saying – rather than passively accepting its bland exterior – but once you give the subject-matter that thought – it is QED – so far as the issues being raised by people like Simon Bellwood, me, victims and other whistle-blowers are concerned.

Now – what do we think are the chances of the Jersey media getting below the flim-flam – and thinking about what it actually means?

Let’s conduct an experiment, OK?

Let us hypothesise that the Jersey media reporting on the subject will be utterly hopeless.

That they will passively swallow the brazen spin being placed on the report and the demonstrable nonsense – of the kind we read from Senator Jimmy Perchard in Saturday’s JEP.

And that even if they grasp the true meaning of the document – for reasons of their customary bias – they won’t report an accurate interpretation of it.

The coming days will test our theory.

In the interim, I reproduce below this post – the Williamson report in its entirety.

I would like you to read it carefully – and in addition to noting the bland language, deliberate avoidance of clearly stating the obvious conclusions, the spineless attempts to be all things to all people without giving too much offence to anyone – and to instead consider some fundamentals revealed by the report.

I will be writing a detailed commentary which I hope to publish in the next day or so. Once I have completed it, I’ll post it here.

But in the interim – here are a few observations to be going on with.

The report adopts and faithfully carries forward the spin-strategy of Jersey’s oligarchy – Mr. Williamson’s pay-masters – through the shameful sophistry of referring to present issues – rather than the previous, long-term disgusting failures of the senior management of Jersey’s child protection apparatus.

This in the hope that if they can carry on asserting that everything in the garden is rosy – today – everyone will somehow forget about the causes of this controversy.

For example – let us take a close look at a particularly carefully crafted phrase from the document. Mr Williamson says, at paragraph 3.2:

“It is important to state at the outset that I have seen no evidence of the institutional or systematic abuse of children in any of these visits”.

This splendid example of diplomatic sophistry then becomes – in the hands of Jersey’s oligarchy – ‘No evidence of any systemic, institutionalised abuse. So there! Every thing in the garden is rosy.’

I know this is quite tiresome – and none of it would, or should, be necessary if the Jersey establishment were not ethically and intellectually bankrupt – but let’s de-construct this phrase of Mr. Williamson’s.

“No evidence of the institutional abuse or systemic abuse of children in any of these visits.”

Got that? He saw no evidence of institutional abuse DURING HIS VISITS.

Well – no sh*t, Sherlock.

Aint that just amazing? In his VISITS to the institutions – following the eruption of the controversy – he didn’t see any boys being held in solitary confinement – in cells with just a sky-light – for weeks and months at a stretch – with just a mattress on the floor – which would be taken away during the day.

I mean – I just can’t understand it! That after the monstrous eruption of the whole Jersey child abuse disaster – with the eyes of the world’s media on Jersey – with a major child abuse investigation being undertaken by the Police – that the mall-treatment of children in care and custody should not be there to be observed by an investigator subsequently brought in to examine such issues?

Like I said – aint it just amazing.

Now – let us make the observation that the sentence of Mr. Williamson quoted above DOES NOT state that there NEVER WAS institutionalised abuse at the Jersey childrens’ “homes”.

On the contrary – in fact he later, at paragraph 5.11, states this:

“However, to use single separation/isolation, the process whereby children are forcibly removed from association with others and confined to a room on their own as a punishment for misbehaviour, is clearly inappropriate and should never be sanctioned by any care regime.”

Got that? “is CLEARLY INAPPROPRIATE and should NEVER be sanctioned by ANY care regime”.

As is well-known from evidence already in the public sphere – such as the so-called Grand Prix policy document – and victim testimony as reported by the national media – the regime used against already vulnerable children in Jersey’s child secure units DID involve the use of extended periods of punitive and coercive solitary confinement.

Institutional abuse which sometimes went on for months.

But – even Mr Williamson states that such regimes are CLEARLY INAPPROPRIATE and should NEVER be sanctioned.

Now let us cast our minds back to the early days of this controversy.

Back to the days when Simon Bellwood had been sacked for attempting to overturn such a clearly inappropriate regime.

And back to the days when I was sacked for believing people like Simon – and not the senior civil servants.

Throughout that episode the Jersey oligarchy repeatedly asserted that the “Grand Prix” regime was perfectly acceptable – and that even if it wasn’t – it was never actually used.

Who could forget the sight of Joe Kennedy asserting on television that his regime didn’t actually exist in the way described in his own policy document – and even if it did – they never actually used it?

Joe Kennedy, let us remind ourselves – was recently allowed to return to work and carry on in his job by people like Frank Walker, Ben Shenton and Jimmy Perchard.

The man who designed and ran a “clearly inappropriate” regime.

People like Simon – and people like me – were saying this regime was inappropriate – indeed, unlawful and wholly unacceptable – throughout last year. Yet throughout the whole episode we have been attacked and smeared by the Jersey oligarchy and its media.

Indeed – the oligarchy was asserting in the States assembly only last Wednesday that “we had no evidence” to back-up our concerns.

Such assertions being demonstrable lies, of course, as I will explain in detail in my full response to the report. Not that such an explanation is really necessary – given the clear evidence already in the public sphere.

Evidence that is implacably stark – notwithstanding the attempts by Jimmy Perchard and Frank Walker to assert otherwise.

Even their Williamson report says that such regimes are not appropriate.

Which is quite a surprising thing to find in the document – and must therefore be regarded as an utterly damning observation – given the complete rubbish and demonstrable, out-right falsehoods elsewhere in his report.

For example, he says of his interviews with all those who spoke to him, that he asked: “whether the individual concerned had any knowledge or concerns about the safety and well being of any child looked after by the States of Jersey as of that date.”

Note: “AS OF THAT DATE”.

He then goes on to state:

“I am pleased to be able to report that the unanimous response was “no”, that they were not aware of any current risks to children in respect of the matter they had sought to discuss with me. “

This is complete garbage; I know this for a stone-fact because I discussed my continuing concerns of risk to children with him.

As did a number of other people known to me.

But his assertion is another example of the sophistry which enabled the Jersey oligarchy to so neatly dovetail with Mr. Williamson.

The question that we were actually asked was to the effect that ‘did we know of any child in immediate and pressing danger – for example, a specific case of maltreatment, battery or sexual abuse?’

To which – of course – everyone said ‘no’.

This can hardly be regarded as surprising – as anyone who knew of a child in such immediate danger wouldn’t be speaking to manifest clowns like Mr. Williamson – they’d be informing the Police.

But you see what they’ve done here? Clever, no?

Very carefully crafted and well-chosen words – deliberately designed to place a spin on the situation.

Not being aware of a child in immediate danger of being raped – is suddenly transformed in the hands of these people into “no child is at risk because of any deficiencies in the Jersey system”, or words to that effect.

The report also contains blatant falsehoods. For example, it claims, at paragraph 10.6.7, that:

“The Howard League for Penal Reform accepted an invitation to visit Jersey in May 2008 to look at the provision of services for young people in remand or in custody. I welcomed the invitation to this organisation to provide an independent expert report into this very serious and complex part of the penal system. They are expected to publish their findings in July 2008.”

The Howard League did not accept an invitation to visit Jersey in May 2008. That organisation – for which I have great respect – accepted an invitation from me to come and carry out an investigation of youth custody issues on the 28th August 2007 -before Mr. Williamson was even recruited. And this invitation from me was rabidly opposed by the Jersey oligarchy – even to the extent that Jersey’s Chief Minister, Frank Walker, wrote to the Howard League in an effort to smear me.

But – fascinatingly – this being the Jersey establishment – inviting in the Howard League suddenly becomes some wonderful, humanitarian initiative of our oligarchy’s.

And just in case that isn’t enough lies for you for one reading, consider this. Mr. Williamson asserts in his report, at paragraph 11.17 that:

“Professor June Thoburn, was asked by the States of Jersey to review the work of the JCPC and assumed the role of Chair in January 2008, for an initial 12 month period.”

Err – no. Sorry – not even close to the facts.

Professor June Thoburn – again, a person I have great respect for – was identified, contacted and recruited by me on the 3rd September 2007, when she agreed to take on the post of Chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee – which she duly took up in a matter of weeks – the previous Chair having been sacked by me.

And, again, the appointment of Professor Thoburn by me – not the States of Jersey -was met with rabid hostility from the self-same civil servants and politicians who now attempt to claim her appointment as some wise and far-sighted decision of their own.

As I’ve said – so many times before – you just couldn’t make it up.

So Mr. Williamson has got his cheque for £50,000.

And the Jersey oligarchy have – nearly – got what they paid for.

Nearly – but not quite.

And in this context – a miss is as good as a mile.

For there is no escaping the fundamental fact – as even Williamson cannot avoid stating – that the use of a punitive, coercive regime of solitary confinement against children is wrong. It is “innapropriate” and should “never” be sanctioned.

These wrong policies were opposed by Simon Bellwood – who the establishment sacked for his efforts; and they were in turn opposed by me when Simon brought them to my attention.

Yet – throughout this episode – Simon was treated appallingly – oppressed and sacked – by the very senior officers who were responsible for the catastrophically unacceptable and abusive “Grand Prix” regime.

And these were the self-same officers who then set about engineering my dismisal as well – when it became clear to them I was believing people like Simon – and not the lies they were peddling.

These officers – and, incidentally, the relevant politicians – remain happily in post. In the civil servants’ case, drawing vast salaries and final salary pensions.

There can be no credible response to the final admission that people like Simon and I were right – that the Grand Prix regime was ‘inappropriate’ and should ‘never have been sanctioned’ – other than to now sack all of those responsible for it and those who subsequently engaged in the corrupt attempts to conceal their own incompetence.

These being:

Joe Kennedy.

Phil Dennett.

Marnie Baudians.

Mike Pollard.

Linda Dodds.

Madeleine Davies.

Mario Lundy.

Just by way of making a start.

And as for the other two-thirds of the political “Corporate Parent” – Senators Mike Vibert and Wendy Kinnard – who engaged in the campaign of cover-up – they too must now resign. Not merely from their Ministerial posts – but from the States.

It is difficult to imagine anything less forgivable in the political context than politicians who have a role in child protection – pro-actively joining in with attempts to cover-up child protection failures.

In any respectable and functioning democracy – that is what would happen; the civil servants and the politicians who engaged in such incompetence and a culture of concealment – would be sacked – forthwith.

But – this is the States of Jersey we’re speaking of.

So don’t hold your breath.

But – if you are a survivor of Jersey social services in recent years – or a parent of a victim – or one of the whistle-blowers who risked your career to expose the truth – don’t worry.

The Williamson report is largely an irrelevancy – as after the next elections a professional and meaningful independent examination of the management failures within Jersey’s child protection apparatus will be commissioned and established.

Fascinatingly – it will also act as a de facto peer-review of the Williamson report.

I will be writing a detailed response to the Williamson report in due course.

In the meantime – let us think of those kids – shut in the cells for days, weeks, months at a stretch – being mentally harmed – lacerating themselves in acts of self-harm.

Let us contrast what they went through – with the plush and cosy lives of the senior civil servants and politicians who attempted to hide such appaling abuses.

Read the Williamson report, re-produced below. And whilst awaiting my detailed response – ponder the question – ‘was this £50,000 well-spent?’

Stuart.

The Williamson Report.

AN INQUIRY INTO
CHILD PROTECTION IN JERSEY
ANDREW WILLIAMSON
JUNE 2008

Contents

Page

1. Background 3
2. Procedure 4
3. Residential Care in Jersey today (2008) 6
4. Les Chenes 7
5. Greenfields Centre 8
6. La Preference Children’s Home 11
7. Heathfields Children’s Centre 11
8. Brig Y Don Pre School Group 11
9. Response to Advertisements 12
10. Issues identified from Interviews 13
10.1 Access to the Social Services Department outside office opening hours 13
10.2 CAMHS 13
10.3 Jersey Child Protection Service 14
10.4 Children’s Executive 15
10.5 External Independent Scrutiny 17
10.6 Future direction 17
10.7 Children’s Plan 19
10.8 A Children’s Plan should include 19
10.9 Staffing 20
10.10 Induction process for staff 21
11. Conclusion 22
12. Recommendations 26

Acknowledgements 28

Appendix 1 Advertisement 29
Appendix 2 List of meetings/visits 30
Appendix 3 Documents/Reports received 31

1. BACKGROUND

1.1 I was appointed by the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers of the States of Jersey on the 23rd August 2007 to undertake an inquiry into issues relating to child protection in Jersey. Specifically the terms of reference were:

1.2 To investigate and report on:

the appropriateness of the policies, advice and procedures produced by the Jersey Child Protection Committee and the Health and Social Services, Education and Home Affairs Departments;

the manner in which such policies, advice and procedures are followed by the departments;

the standards, experience and qualifications of staff as all levels and within all relevant departments.

1.3 And to make recommendations as to any actions that are considered immediately necessary to ensure the highest standards of child care and protection and thereafter to inform any Committee of Inquiry which the States may subsequently constitute.

1.4 The inquiry was considered to be necessary following a number of serious allegations of malpractice particularly within the Children’s Service which were made by a former Minister for Health & Social Services and other complainants.

1.5 Immediately after my appointment by the Council of Ministers I held a series of meetings with the Chief Executive of the States, Chief Executives of the departments for Health and Social Services, Home Affairs and Education, Sport and Culture as well as the Chief Officers of the Probation and Police Services to acquaint myself with the operational approach of each department and to seek their initial responses to the various complaints. I also sought information on current issues facing the departments – particularly relating to vulnerable children and young people and their families.

2. PROCEDURE

2.1 An advertisement was published in the Jersey Evening Post for six nights over a three week period from the 19th November 2007 seeking responses from any person who had lived at identified children’s homes or had been involved with the Children’s Service, and who wanted to talk to me on a totally confidential basis to please contact me.

A copy of the advertisement is attached to this report at Appendix 1.

2.2 Given that much of the work of the Social Services Department is undertaken on the basis of confidentiality I considered this was the most appropriate method of seeking to establish contact with service users – both former and current users of the Service.

2.3 The final publication date of this advertisement coincided with the series of advertisements by the States of Jersey Police in respect of their inquiry into allegations of criminal behaviour against young people.

2.4 Having ascertained that this was the case I met with the Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police and the Head of Child Protection – States of Jersey Police and one of the two police representatives on the Jersey Child Protection Committee, to clarify the working arrangements for both enquiries and to ensure that my work did not in any way adversely affect the police inquiry. The original series of advertisements, outlining my involvement and providing my name and contact details, identified a closing date for referrals or complaints of the 14th December 2007.

2.5 However, with the significant publicity and media interest surrounding the police inquiry a number of referrals and requests for meetings continued to be received by me after that date, and with the agreement of the Council of Ministers the period to enable people to continue to make contact was extended until March 31st 2008.

2.6 During the period of the inquiry I have conducted 65 interviews with complainants; visited a number of children’s establishments, some without prior notice; attended a range of meetings across States departments; met with a wide range of staff members employed by the States of Jersey.

2.7 During this period it was also decided that I should move my office and administrative support from the Chief Minister’s Department to the Office of the States Greffe. Arrangements were put in hand to ensure that no communications or post were lost in the transitional period and I have received no indication that the move led to any breakdown in communication between either members of the public or current for former staff who wished to contact me.

2.8 I have conducted a number of personal interviews, 65 of which were as a direct result of people making contact with me voluntarily and in response to the series of press advertisements, and I also held meetings with either current or former members of the staff, Deputies, Senators and Ministers and those working for the voluntary sector in Jersey in relation to services for children.

2.9 As is usual in these circumstances and to ensure a thorough and meaningful discussion I gave an assurance of confidentiality to those people interviewed (within, of course, the parameters of the Law.)

2.10 At the conclusion of each interview and in order to be able to assess the likelihood of any current risks to children I specifically asked whether the individual concerned had any knowledge or concerns about the safety and well being of any child looked after by the States of Jersey as of that date.

2.11 I am pleased to be able to report that the unanimous response was “no”, that they were not aware of any current risks to children in respect of the matter they had sought to discuss with me.

2.12 I should make it clear that had any allegations or concerns regarding the wellbeing of children been reported to me, I would have relayed the information to the police or the Children’s Services immediately.

2.13 The majority of the concerns expressed to me were about the standards of services received over recent years and interviewees often sought to challenge some of the decisions taken by senior representatives of the Children’s Service in the past.

2.14 Some felt aggrieved by what they perceived to be unfair, or judgemental, decisions concerning parental skills or the demonstration of a lack of clarity and professionalism in the decisions regarding child welfare or family life.

2.15 In December 2007 I requested that a former Director of Social Services for Kent County Council, Mr. Peter Smallridge C.B.E., could assist me in the inquiry as I felt that the benefits of having additional independent analysis of the Children’s Service would be extremely advantageous. This was readily agreed. Mr. Smallridge is also currently chair of the Kent and Medway NHS Partnership Trust, Past President of the Association of Directors of Social Services and brings to the inquiry a wealth of experience. He has accompanied me on a number of visits – all of which are listed as Appendix 2 to this report, assisted with some interviews and he has also had sight of all copies of reports I have received– again these are listed in Appendix 3.

3 RESIDENTIAL CARE IN JERSEY TODAY (2008)

3.1 Peter Smallridge and I have undertaken, planned and unannounced visits to all of the residential children’s establishments in Jersey over the last few months. These establishments are:

Les Chenes (which subsequently became Greenfields Centre);

La Preference Children’s Home;

Heathfields Children’s Home and

Brig Y Don Pre School Group.

3.2 It is important to state at the outset that I have seen no evidence of the institutional or systematic abuse of children in any of these visits and that, so far as we know, the Service is safe for the children and young people in the States of Jersey Children’s Homes today.

3.3 We acknowledge that present investigations into past practice on the Island may unearth a different picture but as we are not involved in those investigations it would not be appropriate for us to comment. Those matters are quite properly for the police to deal with.

We outline below our comments on each of the establishments.

3.4 From our visits and attendance at various meetings we both feel we can be confident that the managers and staff involved in the direct provision of residential services for children are competent in their work and keen to demonstrate high standards of care.

3.5 Essentially they, in conjunction and often increasingly in partnership with foster carers, provide a good service for children and young people who require care and support.

4. LES CHENES

4.1 Les Chenes is a large building which is currently not used for the provision of care for children. Prior to the opening of the new Greenfields Service Unit, Les Chenes was used as the secure facility for children and young people but was not designed for that purpose.

4.2 Staff told us that the previous secure unit was very unsatisfactory and, that far from meeting the needs of the resident children it allowed them to “run riot” and virtually run the establishment to the very real detriment to their care and to the increased risk of harm to themselves or to the staff.

4.3 We were told that there were too many children, some of whom were placed inappropriately, and staff felt lacking in confidence in terms of building design, staffing levels and training to deal with them. In short we were told it was “dangerous and needed to be changed.”

4.4 The Kathy Bull Report (December 2002) recommended the closure of Les Chenes and the decision was made for it to be closed. A new secure unit to replace it was commissioned and staff appointed to assist with the design. Visits were made across the UK to ensure that it would incorporate the latest and most effective techniques to provide a secure environment for children and young people.
4.5 It was also necessary to ensure an appropriate environment for daily living with recreational and educational facilities provided within the secure perimeter.

4.6 The move to the new “Greenfields” Centre was undertaken in a planned way and the staff told us that the extremely challenging and at times “out of control” behaviour exhibited not infrequently by the residents of the former home – Les Chenes – virtually disappeared since moving to Greenfields, which has been much easier to maintain and manage.

4.7 Les Chenes remains empty and proposals are listed later in this report regarding its possible future use.

5. GREENFIELDS CENTRE

5.1 This is a modern secure unit, is purposely designed and built to a high standard and, we believe is “fit for purpose” and appropriately staffed. Although staff tell us that access to training opportunities could be better, they are committed to the care regime that operates there and, to the children placed there.

5.2 On admission each child has his/her Care Plan agreed, reviews are carried out as appropriate depending on the length of stay of the resident. There appears to be a good working relationship between field social workers and their residential colleagues.

5.3 The major concerns expressed about the regime which operated there were about the “Grand Prix” system of managing children’s behaviour. This had been introduced during the unsettled period at Les Chenes, and established at Greenfields as the model for managing the behaviour of the residents. Staff were trained in the use of TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention). In essence this was predicated on a behaviour modification model not unlike many we have seen operating in similar establishments in the UK. Offering rewards for acceptable behaviour and sanctions when it was not achieved, the “Grand Prix” symbolised achievement and failure and sought to make the system topical and understandable for the young people living with it.

5.4 In admission to a Secure Unit it is normal practice for the young person to be interviewed, informed of the rules for the general running of the unit, asked to remove their clothing, shower and change into the clothing provided by the unit.

5.5 At Greenfields, this routine takes place in a single room with private bathroom and the clothing given to the young person is in our judgement quite appropriate. There is an additional factor that has to be included in this process which is particularly relevant to a community such as Jersey and that is to ascertain whether the young person knows any of the other resident young people or members of staff within the unit. It does seem relevant, in our judgement, that issues of friendship or enmity that may exist between residents of the unit prior to their admission does need to be clarified and providing there is a constant and reassuring member of staff available to the young person during this process this is a necessary part of the admission procedure. This requires a short period of time when the young person will be kept away from the other residents but providing there is a constant and reassuring member of staff present and instantly available to the young person if not actually present in the room this is a necessary part of the admission process

5.6 The current model of care at Greenfields is based on “Therapeutic Crisis Intervention” (TCI), which was designed at Cornell University in the USA to address the needs and nature of the children and young people resident there.

5.7 We have seen TCI operate in a number of Local Authority Secure Children’s Homes and in Secure Training Centres in the UK, and we know that it is a model well liked and understood by staff and effective with children and young people.

5.8 Staff that we interviewed at Greenfields confirmed our assessment, although like their colleagues in England and Wales they are less confident about the capacity of the restraint mode inherent in TCI especially with larger and stronger teenagers.

5.9 Unpalatable as it may be to discuss the “restraint” of young people in care it is occasionally necessary to prevent harm to the young person themselves, to other young people or to staff.

5.10 The issue of “single separation” (to give the technical term used for what in Jersey has been described as “isolation”) has been, and continues to be, a big issue in the care for children and young people in secure care.

5.11 However, to use single separation/isolation, the process whereby children are forcibly removed from association with others and confined to a room on their own as a punishment for misbehaviour, is clearly inappropriate and should never be sanctioned by any care regime.

5.12 A number of people who responded to my advertisement in the Jersey Evening Post wanted to talk about some of their experiences whilst living in Children’s Homes in Jersey. At the conclusion of these discussions, and with their full knowledge and agreement, I arranged for them to make contact with the Police Inquiry, as it was agreed from the outset of my inquiry that it would be more appropriate for the police to pursue such complaints.

5.13 I was also particularly pleased that the Howard League for Penal Reform accepted an invitation to visit Jersey and see at first hand the new Greenfields Unit as well as the Young Offenders Wing at La Moye Prison. Their visit confirmed our understanding that the Grand Prix system had ceased to be in operation at Greenfields.

5.14 There are however occasions when severely disturbed behaviour is best dealt with by removing the child/young person from the company of others so as to not harm others and, to allow a “cooling off” period for the young person concerned.

5.15 Provided that regular supervision is in place and, if there is concern about the possibility of self harm more observation is established, the process itself need not be damaging to the child/young person.

5.16 It has not been possible to know with any certainty whether or not this process, used as described above, in all secure centres in the UK as necessary, was overused or abused in the regime at Les Chenes in the past. There are at least two versions of what happened there and the only comment we can make on the subject is that, if a prima facie case exists or emerges that the system and, therefore children, were abused, action should be taken against those responsible.

5.17 One of the main issues to be addressed since Greenfields has opened is its future use in terms of occupancy. On the number of occasions I have visited the home, there have been very few residents. Whilst it is commendable that the States of Jersey has this provision to ensure that young people needing such accommodation are able to remain on the Island, (to facilitate parental, family contact etc), it is imperative that consideration is given to develop the full potential of the facility.

6. LA PREFERENCE CHILDREN’S HOME

6.1 Unannounced visits were made to all establishments and La Preference was no exception.

6.2 In general, managers and staff seemed committed to the care of the young people present and those young people we met, who were encouraged to talk to us by the staff appeared well cared for and largely content. The care regime was therapeutic, well understood by management and staff and systematically carried out.

6.3 All children had up to date plans and participated in their production and review.

6.4 The manager was keen to develop services for young people in partnership with other States agencies in order to make available a greater range of educational and career opportunities, especially for those leaving care. He described his work with his management team with concern and enthusiasm.

6.5 In summary we felt this establishment was in good hands and had a clear sense of purpose owned by the staff and the children alike.

7. HEATHFIELDS CHILDREN’S CENTRE

7.1 Two visits have been made to Heathfield, both unannounced, and on both occasions the home seemed to be running well and in a calm professional manner. I was given free access to talk to the resident young people and from my inspection records and Care Plans were up to date.

8. BRIG Y DON PRE SCHOOL GROUP

8.1 Similarly, I made an unannounced visit and was very impressed both by my reception and the open response to my questions and to the discussion with all members of staff present and of current issues facing the Children’s Service. I was encouraged to talk to some of the children and young people and was particularly pleased to hear of a support package being offered to a former resident of the home who lives nearby. The staff were very encouraged by a recent review day looking at Children’s Services for the Island. They are currently involved in discussions regarding the future role of Brig Y Don, which is owned by a Charitable Foundation. Together with the development of the Fostering Service on the Island, the purpose and function of the residential homes are currently being reviewed and the staff at Brig Y Don confirmed during my visit that they are keen to participate in the provision of services for children and young people.

9. RESPONSE TO ADVERTISEMENTS

9.1 Of the 65 responses to the series of advertisements, a significant percentage were from current or former users of the Children’s Service and they were critical of the service they had received. Given the personal nature of the work with children and families, there is often disagreement over what is in the best interests of a child, and therefore an aggrieved parent or relative. Nevertheless, it is imperative that all complaints are vigorously investigated to ensure that poor practice or lack of appropriate provision is identified. In a significant proportion of these complaints, the main area of concern was to do with a perceived lack of effective joint working between schools, Youth Action Team, CAMHS or voluntary agencies, and the Children’s Service on the Island. In following up these individual complaints, I also detected this underlying issue and apparent lack of cohesion. To illustrate this, there is good evidence of an attempt to deliver a “seamless” service at one of the secondary schools – Le Rocquier School. This does not appear to have been developed at the other schools. It was difficult to understand why this has not been developed as a more universal approach, and I would consider that, given the geography of the Island, a common system for access to the specialist services provided by the Children’s Service for potentially vulnerable children of school age and their families could be developed.

9.2 I have read the report “The Future of Children’s Residential Care” by the Social Services Management Team, and support the recommendations. The success of the programme to recruit more foster carers and adoptive parents has resulted in a significant reduction in bed occupancy at Heathfield and La Preference. This does present an opportunity to redesign the children’s residential provision within existing budgets.

9.3 Of the 65 interviews, there were four allegations of abuse while in the care of the Children’s Service.

9.4 These related to periods of time spent at Les Chenes, or in the care of foster parents in the 1990’s. Given the police inquiry into allegations of abuse in residential care, I advised the complainants to make contact with the police and provided contact details. This procedure was agreed with the Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police. I subsequently confirmed that the police had been contacted and follow up interviews arrangements.

10. ISSUES IDENTIFIED FROM INTERVIEWS

10.1 Access to the Social Services Department outside office opening hours

10.1.1 This was raised by a number of people and agencies who had reason to make contact with the Department either in the evenings or at weekends. The current arrangements require contact to be made via the States of Jersey Police force. When such assistance is needed in an emergency situation, it is often for issues of a personal and complex matter and I have been told of reluctance to divulge confidential information to a third party agency. Given that the Children’s Service employs staff on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis, e.g. at Greenfields I would recommend that serious consideration be given by the department to relocate the service and ensure an effective on call rota for senior managers to support the on call system.

10.1.2 There have also been access issues during periods of staff absence, when posts are vacant and although this is not such an issue when there is a full complement of field work staff, changes as suggested would in my view help improve the public perception of the service.

10.2 CAMHS

10.2.1 I have had a number of meetings with the Consultant Child Psychiatrist and the Clinical Psychologist (CAMHS) and other staff of this service. They are situated in a separate building in St. Helier which provides good facilities for working with children and families. Generally the service links well with other agencies and is keen to develop a flexible approach to meeting demand. Links with schools, the Youth Service and the Youth Action Team are crucial and proposals for a more integrated service in all secondary schools, with close links to primary schools, will assist in this process. Discussions are ongoing at the present time with senior managers of the relevant agencies to develop a preventative service which will play a significant part in the development of the fostering service and enable children to remain at home with their family and receive the necessary support.

10.3 Jersey Child Protection Service

10.3.1 The Jersey Child Protection Service has recently been subjected to much criticism as expressed in the public media by a former Minister for Health and Social Services. Part of the series of events resulting in my appointment to this inquiry was to do with the Chairmanship and leadership of the Jersey Child Protection Committee (JCPC). The former Minister for Health and Social Services, as one of his last acts as Minister before leaving the post, dismissed the former Chair of the JCPC – a voluntary, unpaid post, because of the alleged conspiracy in relation to the non disclosure of serious allegations of abuse by a formerly employed member of staff in a children’s home. There were further allegations of mismanagement of a serious untoward incident leading to a review of practice by all the agencies involved.

10.3.2 Professor June Thoburn, from the University of East Anglia was asked to assume the role of chairman of the JCPC for one year and Professor Thoburn has undertaken this role since 1st January 2008.

10.3.3 She immediately launched a thorough review of the work of the JCPC and all the reporting and monitoring mechanisms and I have worked closely with her to ensure she is kept fully informed of the progress of my inquiry. Professor Thoburn has similarly kept me fully informed of her developing role and the changes she is introducing into the role and processes of the Child Protection Committee.

10.3.4 Essential to this review is the need for distinction to be made between the strategic and monitoring role of the JCPC with respect to multi agency aspects of child protection and, the day to day work of the Children’s Service staff in supporting families and protecting children from maltreatment. These developments should make it more likely that any inadequacies in the child protection services will come to light and be appropriately addressed in timely fashion.

10.3.5 Given Professor Thoburn’s extensive knowledge of Children’s services and her significant standing in the Child Protection Service in the United Kingdom, I am very confident in stating that the service will be safe, effective and monitored to the highest standards.

10.4 Children’s Executive

This group was established in 2003 as one of the recommendations of the Bull Report. Membership of the Executive comprises senior representatives from the following Departments:

Education, Sport and Culture:

Principal Youth Officer.
Principal Educational Psychologist
Manager of The Bridge

Health:

Consultant Child Psychiatrist
Consultant Paediatrician

Children’s Services:

Directorate Manager Social Services
Service Manager-Children’s Service.

Social Services:

Co-ordinator, Children’s Executive.

Police:

Police Inspector.

Probation:

Assistant Chief Probation Officer.

Prison.

Prison Governor.

10.4.2 The Executive is accountable to the Ministers of the Home Affairs (HA), Health and Social Services (HSS) and Education, Sport and Culture (ESC) departments. It meets on a monthly basis and is currently chaired by Co-ordinator of the Children’s Executive.

10.4.3 I have met with officers who attend the Executive meetings, read the minutes of previous meetings and attended one of their meetings to observe at first hand the work of this group.

10.4.4 I have noted that there is a degree of confusion about its purpose and effectiveness given the generally agreed lack of clarity about its overall accountability.

10.4.5 The original proposal, as outlined in the Bull Report was to develop the concept of “corporate parental responsibility”. That in my opinion is a laudable objective. But in my judgement this does not seem to have been achieved. The Children’s Executive appears to operate within the Children’s Service of the Health and Social Services Department and has created an additional tier of management without a clear line of accountability or delegation to ensure a corporate approach to the care of looked after children and since it includes some families support services for children who may be in need of protection whilst living with their families.

10.4.6 These comments should not be interpreted as wholly critical or negative as there have been some positive developments from the Executive. For example, the club that meets at the Greenfield site for young people in the Alternative Curriculum is an innovative multi- agency approach which demonstrates a clear commitment to help these young people develop and return to school at an appropriate time.

10.4.7 My main concerns about the Children’s Executive concern the issue of clear lines of accountability for services for children within the States Assembly. The appointment of a Minister or Commissioner for Children and Young People would go some way to improving the current arrangements and clarify the issue of accountability. I would further recommend that the Children’s Executive be replaced by a Children’s Services Executive Committee at Chief Officer/Deputy level to be responsible for developing and delivering a Children’s Services Plan for all vulnerable children and their families.

10.4.8 The decision as to whether the States of Jersey should appoint a Minister or Commissioner for Children is complex and in my judgement finely balanced. The role of Minister for Children could create some confusion in relation to responsibilities of other significant ministries – Education, Sports and Culture, and Home Affairs – but the benefits of having a single, senior appointment would give a very clear statement that the States of Jersey is determined to provide a high quality service for all children on the Island with clear lines of accountability. Whether the accountability should be for all children or for all vulnerable children who may be in need of additional services should be part of this discussion.
10.5 External Independent Scrutiny

10.5.1 One aspect of working in the public sector in a community that has a distinct geographical definition, which particularly applies to Health and Social Care, is the greater need, in my judgement, for external scrutiny of Services. Managing these services is complex and challenging and for obvious reasons securing appropriate external scrutiny in Jersey is more difficult but very necessary. A good illustration of this is the need for transparency of independence in the Reviewing post for Looked After Children. This is an essential post and the current arrangements, whilst being independent from the Children’s Service and making best use of available resources, in the opinion of many who either receive the service or work in it, are not judged to be sufficiently independent. I recommend that consideration be given to employing an Agency or an individual to undertake the functions of the Independent Reviewing Officer who is not resident on the Island. There are currently 77 children and young people requiring this service and this degree of external overview would provide a level of security for the Chief Executive that services are provided at a satisfactory level and are compliant with all legal requirements.

10.5.2 Further thought should also be given to engaging an organisation to carry out annual or bi annual inspections of the work of the Social Services department to provide independent verification that the required standards are being achieved.

10.6: Future direction

10.6.1 The States of Jersey Children’s Services have been subjected to a number of extensive reviews and as I write this report, there is the highly publicised, on going Police Inquiry into alleged child abuse at Haut de la Garenne, a former Children’s Home in the Island.

10.6.2 Inevitably such a long period of external review can lead to degrees of uncertainty and lack of decision making, and if this has been the case, it is now imperative that a clear, focussed strategic direction for the Children’s Service on the Island is established.

10.6.3 There are a number of areas of good practice which provide the necessary foundation on which to build the future services. The recent development of the Fostering Service must be acknowledged not only because of the initial success of the project but also because as it continues to develop it will provide an opportunity to redesign the provision of residential care for children and young people on the Island. This in turn will allow further discussion and development of the Department’s approach to services for vulnerable children across the age range and their families including Family Centres such as the La Chasse Centre, The Bridge and the Pathways project, managed by the NSPCC. These are developments that can be taken further and such development proposals might attract other voluntary organisations to come into partnership with the Department to improve the range of services available to children, young people and families.

10.6.4 Similarly the replacement of Les Chenes with the new building at Greenfields is a significant improvement in the provision of secure care for young people. The design of the building, which should be acknowledged as being of a very high standard will allow for a review of the use of the building, its links with La Moye YOI provision, and the opportunity to develop accommodation for all young offenders. Given the location of the Youth Offender Wing at La Moye Prison and the levels of occupation of the Greenfields accommodation there is an opportunity to use Greenfields to provide accommodation for all offenders under the age of 16 years. Given that on occasions Greenfields will also be providing care for a young person who has not committed a crime or placed on remand but requires specialist accommodation away from home or family, there are arguments against extending the use of the building in this way but we believe that given the design of the accommodation at Greenfields and the level of staff support, the remit for this building should be extended to provide necessary services for all those under the age of 16 years.

10.6.5 For those young people between the ages of 16 – 18 years, the arguments for and against transfer from La Moye to Greenfields, are more complex, and on balance we feel that such decisions could be taken on an individual basis, depending on circumstances at the time, occupancy levels, group dynamics of the resident population of the home, staffing levels etc and of course the needs of the individual. It might also be appropriate to consider the provision of separate accommodation, within the building, for young people with specific difficulties who are unable to live at home and who need supervision and support.

10.6.6 Television links could also be established with the Courts to reduce the need for transporting young people to Court for formal Hearings including remand. The Greenfields resource required significant expenditure and provides an opportunity for the Island to further develop the range of specialist accommodation with a high level of staff support in an efficient cost effective manner.

10.6.7 The Howard League for Penal Reform accepted an invitation to visit Jersey in May 2008 to look at the provision of services for young people in remand or in custody. I welcomed the invitation to this organisation to provide an independent expert report into this very serious and complex part of the penal system. They are expected to publish their findings in July 2008.

10.6.8 There has been much debate in the States Assembly about the appropriate age for residency at La Moye and Greenfields and the Howard League report will make recommendations in respect of this issue. There are, of course, arguments for and against any change to the present system but given the provision of the new secure unit at Greenfields and the possibilities being developed in the Foster Care Service (for example remand or bail fostering in appropriate circumstances) I do feel further consideration should be given to developing a more flexible approach to the use of the whole site.

10.7: Children’s Plan

10.7.1 The Children’s Service is currently implementing the common assessment framework for planning and assessing the needs of vulnerable and their families who may be in need of a specialist service. I would recommend the States of Jersey consider a biannual requirement for a Children’s Plan to be published and the recommendations adopted by all relevant agencies. This would also give the Minister for Children a clear strategy for the development of services and a yardstick by which to assess performance and delivery. The Plan for children and young people would incorporate the policies for the following:

A Children’s Plan should include:

Early years;
Playschemes;
Daycare registration;
Child health strategy;
Child and adolescent mental health strategy;
Children who are vulnerable following the divorce or separation of their parents;
Taking account of children’s needs in a housing strategy – especially in relation to the location of schools;
An Island wide approach to the management of bullying;
Youth Action Strategy including restorative justice;
Increasing opportunities for Educational success;
Skill development;
Literacy, numeracy and the review of the primary curriculum;
Connected youth strategy;
Youth alcohol strategy;
Secondary education;
Restorative justice;
School at the heart of the community;
Arrangements to identify and intervene early for children who need additional help;
Special Needs;
Parenting Strategy;
Inclusion;
Alternative educational provision;
Detached youth work.

And would lay the foundation for the longer term planning to structure services to deliver the desired outcomes and develop a model for workforce development.

10.9 Staffing

10.9.1 I have conducted interviews with members of staff, visited offices and Children’s homes on a number of occasions and discussed relevant issues concerning the Children’s Services with many other agencies, both statutory and voluntary on the Island.

10.9.2 The majority of the staff of the Children’s Service are appropriately qualified and although there are recruitment difficulties from time to time, there is a positive approach to recruitment and forward planning in an effort to ensure continuity of service.

10.9.3 With regard to staffing levels to meet service demand I am not aware that this is an issue when all the posts are occupied and active. Inevitably issues of cover, absenteeism do arise from time to time when posts fall vacant unexpectedly as when illness or extended periods of leave occur.

10.9.4 One of the most significant conclusions from my series of interviews with members of staff is that there is a general feeling of lack of support or awareness of the difficult and complex issues staff face when working with very vulnerable children and their parents and carers. There was a general reluctance to be identified as expressing these concerns but on a number of occasions members of staff have said they would not expect to be supported in taking difficult decisions and stated “you are on your own”. Whether this is fact or illusion, this issue must be addressed and systems established for staff to be able to voice concerns without fearing instant rebuttal or challenges of malpractice.

10.9.5 This is particularly so when staff are dealing with complex access/residence issues following marital separation and when both parents are challenging the decisions taken by the social care staff. There is a view by some of those involved that making a complaint or seeking further discussion is responded to in a defensive manner which does not allow further debate. This concern has also been expressed to me by Voluntary Agency staff and it appears to me that the Children’s Service is sometimes seen as defensive and resistant to challenge. These criticisms will not come as a surprise to the Social Services Managers as they have been aware of these issues for some time and in fact in 2007 presented a paper proposing an Advisory Service be established based on the CAFCASS service in the U.K. The proposals would draw from existing service within the Children’s and Probation Services with some additional funding requirement for management and administrative resources but the workload demands for such a team should keep the additional funding to a minimum. I feel this proposal is worth developing as it will provide an additional level of scrutiny to a part of the Children’s Service that is often criticised and under pressure from external agencies. Any such developments will need to take into account the work of the Independent Chair of the Children Protection Conferences and of the Independent Reviewing Officer to enhance the quality of the service without unnecessary duplication.

10.10 Induction process for staff

10.10.1: Training

10.10.2 Whilst there is a training programme for all staff there is some disquiet amongst practitioners that this is too prescriptive and does not build on the Training Needs Analysis approach that has been successfully implemented in some Social Care Departments in the UK. A large part of this approach is to design a training and development programme for the individual member of staff and is based on access to good quality supervision/mentoring and the design of a development plan for the individual rather than an annual training programme for all staff. Given the complex nature of much of the work undertaken by the staff of this department the individual training needs analysis approach should be considered as part of the overall drive to ensure a high standard of practice.

11. CONCLUSION

11.1 Given the intense media interest generated by allegations of abuse at the former Children’s Home, Haut de la Garenne, and the very public departure of a former employee of Greenfields Secure Unit, it is not surprising that I found a dispirited work force who feel a lack of public recognition for their work – some of which is of a high standard.

11.2 The public response to my series of advertisements was in excess of 65 and of these, 4 involved allegations of abuse whilst in the care of the Children’s Service. These have been separately investigated and with the consent of the individuals concerned they were referred to the police.

11.3 Considerable effort has been made by both the Police and myself, and my administrative support, to ensure no contacts are lost in the process of redirection and nothing in the process of this inquiry could adversely impact on the Police Inquiry.

11.4 To ensure a full and proper record is kept of this process, I have requested that I provided a Witness Statement to the police to assist the official recording of their Inquiry.

11.5 I have read a large number of relevant reports produced by the Children’s Service and other relevant agencies and these are listed in the Appendices. I have also read with great interest the Report by Professor Kathy Bull, into the Provision of Services for Young People with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties and Disorders which was submitted to the States of Jersey Government in December 2002. This was commissioned by the Education, Health and Social Services and Home Affairs Committees and was an extensive piece of work culminating in 50 recommendations. The Bull Report, as it is known, marks a significant event in the development of the Children’s Service in Jersey. For example it was the Bull report that recommended the establishment of the Children’s Executive, with the aim of developing the role of the Corporate Parent within Government. It also recommended the development of the Fostering and Adoption Service which has seen significant progress over the past year.

11.6 Of all the responses to the advertisement the majority expressed some dissatisfaction what they perceived as a lack of quality of the work undertaken with either the complainant or complainant’s family. Given the nature of the work undertaken by the Children’s Service, it is not surprising to receive such comments, but a common issue that arose throughout was the perception either by individuals or other agencies of difficulty of access to the service.

11.7 I have discussed this complaint with the Management Team who, whilst accepting the complaints, believes this reflected a time when the Service was coping with a number of staff vacancies. This has now been rectified and hopefully concerns about the Department’s services have improved.

11.8 I have made contact with many other agencies working with children on the Island and whilst concern has been expressed at the difficulty of making contact, the general response is that there is a need for a more “joined up” approach to providing services for children and young people. This is not to deny that there is some very good work taking place every day, but more could be achieved if an agreed set of objectives and approaches can be formulated across the Island. To this end the development of a Children’s Plan, possibly reviewed on a biannual basis, should provide the necessary framework.

11.9 With regard to the provision of appropriate training and development opportunities, there is a training programme and staff joining the department are provided with an induction programme. However, there is a need to ensure these programmes are coherent at the qualifying and post qualifying levels and are also individually tailored to ensure the members of staff meet the requirements for the renewal of their professional registration.

11.10 There are currently three residential homes for children and young people managed by the Children’s Executive and one home, Brig Y Don, which is owned and managed by a local charitable institution. Two of the homes, Heathfields and La Preference are large buildings that are often underused – mainly as a result of the success of the developing Fostering Service. I understand that the Children’s Service is currently in the process of negotiating a new contact with the charity that provides the service at Brig Y Don Home and is looking at likely future demand for residential provision. Given the continued investment in preventative services and the Adoption and Fostering programme, there is an opportunity to determine future requirements and the potential for development without the need for additional finance.

11.11 The third residential home, Greenfields, has been the centre of significant interest. The Centre provides secure accommodation for young people in a newly opened and much praised building. At the time of writing this report, the Howard League for Penal Reform are writing their report following a two visits to Jersey in May and June 2008 which included meeting staff and residents at both Greenfields and La Moye Prison YOI wing. Early indications are that their recommendations will be to do with expanding the role of Greenfields, challenging the use of custodial sentences rather than a welfare approach for young people and establishing a separate policy for youth justice.

11.12 It is considered that with some minor alterations more effective use could be made of the building which is an impressive resource in terms of design but more flexibility needs to be built in to the structure to develop opportunities to maximise the resource.

11.13 I am pleased that following their initial visit the Howard League have confirmed the view of both Peter Smallridge and myself that the “Grand Prix” system is no longer in operation and a welfare model of care of residents is the prevailing approach.

11.14 I have met with the Board of Visitors of Greenfields, looked at all their reports, visited on a number of occasions, met individually with members of staff who have wished to see me, talked to a number of resident young people – again without staff members present or within view and read all the files of young people who have stayed at Greenfields since it opened. I am confident that with the proposed changes the resource will be well used and able to provide a positive influence on the lives of some of the young people of Jersey.

11.15 An essential requirement in the provision of a safe, high quality service for children and young people is the encouragement of external advocacy for children looked after by the States. The appointment of an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) who would guarantee that personalised planning is provided for all children looked after, and provide external scrutiny of the work carried out by the service. Whilst I accept that attempts have been made to provide this approach, there is an IRO in post who is resident on the Island, a more transparently independent post would be to the benefit of both the children and young people and their families and the Managers of the Service.

11.16 One of the terms of reference of the inquiry was “Child Protection” and whilst I have looked at this service with considerable interest, attended meetings of the JCPC and interviewed members of the Committee, I have been very aware of the work undertaken by Professor June Thoburn.

11.17 Professor June Thoburn, was asked by the States of Jersey to review the work of the JCPC and assumed the role of Chair in January 2008, for an initial 12 month period. I have sought to work closely with Professor Thoburn in looking at the work of the JCPC and recommendations to the structure and the terms of reference to ensure the integrity of the Committee and to clarify the status and authority of the JCPC in relation to the Child Protection work on the Island. I am more than satisfied that the work undertaken by Professor Thoburn will achieve these ambitions and lay the foundations for the JCPC to operate effectively and efficiently as a stand alone, authorative Committee, ensuring the work of the various agencies involved in Child Protection within the Island is of the highest standard, and answerable for its work to the appropriate departments and Ministers and to the people of Jersey.

11.18 The Children’s Executive Group meets on a monthly basis. The establishment of the Group was recommended in the Bull Report to develop a “Co-ordinated approach to the delivery of services for children and young people” and I would assume assist in the development of the role of the Corporate Parent for the States of Jersey.

11.19 Having looking at the broad papers, interviewed members of the group and attended a meeting of the group I remain unclear as to its function and more importantly the line of accountability to Ministers. This is not to say that the Children’s Executive has no value – indeed the dynamic approach towards rationalising Children’s residential services and the development of groups for children and young people excluded from school demonstrate the value of the Executive but I remain concerned at the Executive’s lack of clear accountability in such an important area of care for children.

11.20 The Corporate Parent Group composing Ministers for ESC, HA and HSS is unclear about the actual lines of accountability and in my view such clarity is crucial in this field of public service. I consider the time may be right to take this development to the next stage and appoint a Minister with responsibility for Children, who would have the over-arching responsibility to ensure the delivery of a coordinated service for all children. The structure and responsibilities of the Children’s Executive would then need to be reviewed to ensure the resources of the States of Jersey for Children and Young People are used and developed to best advantage. A good illustration of the need for this work is demonstrated in my judgement in the impressive work of the Jersey Youth Service, while the role of the Youth Action Team (YAT) seems unclear in terms of delivering a comprehensive multi-agency service for young people across the Island. With clearer lines of accountability more can be achieved from the present level of service investment.

11.21 Many of the conclusions lead me to recommend a review of the management structure of the Social Services Department and I have held a number of discussions with the Chief Executive of the HSS department to pursue these ideas. As I stated at the outset of these conclusions many staff feel they have been on the receiving end of intense scrutiny and criticism for a long period of time and it is the responsibility of the senior managers to ensure that high quality services are provided for children and young people which use and develop all the skills available within the Department.

RECOMMENDATIONS

12.1. At the conclusion of this extensive investigation into issues relating to child protection in Jersey, I should like to make the following recommendations:

1.Create the post of Minister for Children whose responsibilities should be determined following discussions about whether the scope of this role should be for all children or specifically vulnerable children and their families.

2. Re design Children’s Executive to report to Minister.

3. Appoint external organisation to review Children’s Service on a bi annual basis.

4. Appoint external Reviewing Officer.

5. Establish group representing users of remodelled Children’s Service.
6. Refine contractual approach to external agencies eg NSPCC Brig Y Don, The Bridge.

7. Consider future role of children’s residential homes with a possible minor redesign of Greenfields to develop a range of services available at Greenfields.

8. Develop a new management structure to ensure all services – CAMHS, YAT, Youth Service and Schools contribute to well being of children and young people.

9. Develop whistleblowing policy for all staff.

10. Develop a link between the Greenfields Secure Unit and La Moye Youth Offenders Wing with the Jersey Child Protection Committee to ensure that the safeguarding responsibilities are maintained.

11. Replace the present Emergency Duty system which uses the Police Service by one which uses 24 hour Health and Social Services availability.

Andrew Williamson
30.06.2008

Acknowledgements.

The Inquiry has been complex and demanding – given the parallel running of the major Police Inquiry into alleged abuse at former Children’s homes and an employment appeal relating to one of the major Children’s resources on the Island.

It has been necessary throughout this process to ensure that my work did not in any way adversely affect the smooth running of the 2 separate enquiries.

I was also aware of the review of the Jersey Child Protection Committee by Professor June Thoburn and the need for this to be independent from my inquiry.

I am assured by all parties mentioned that these various enquiries have not been adversely affected by running concurrently.

This is due in no small measure to the excellent administrative support I have received from Mrs Lyn Houguez of the States Greffe Department and many of her colleagues and Mrs Tina Soley and colleagues from the Chief Minister’s Department. I should also like to thank the Greffier of the States of Jersey, Mr Michael de la Haye for his assistance and guidance in understanding the operational systems in Jersey.

Throughout this inquiry I have found all Ministers, Senators and Deputies and staff of the various Departments of the States of Jersey to be helpful and supportive in their responses, as have the Voluntary and Independent agencies. My thanks also to Peter Smallridge, for readily agreeing to work with me, to help me achieve a balanced and thorough approach through all our investigations.

Finally my thanks to those residents of Jersey who made contact with me, not only in relation to their own complaint or experience, but also to help in building a first class Children’s Service for the Island of Jersey.

Andrew Williamson
30.06.2008

RESULT!

Oligarchy Terrified of Jersey Charter!

And it isn’t even fully written yet!

Just a brief post to keep you up-dated in respect of the fall-out from yesterday’s victory by the Jersey oligarchy.

I mentioned in my closing speech that I would be attempting to launch a Jersey Charter movement – which will hopefully be in a position to contest the forthcoming elections on the basis of a set of simple, fundamental principles of democracy, justice, accountability and freedom.

I subsequently spoke to the local media about this idea.

The undisguised naked panic and terror on the part of the oligarchy has been wondrous to behold.

I know from journalists – local and national – and various other sources, that the Jersey establishment has – for quite some time – been very, very worried about the possibility of me getting involved in some kind of political movement.

Other attempts at organised politics in Jersey – past and current – have been viewed with contempt by the establishment; indeed – even regarded as a helpful bogeyman with which to frighten the voting public. This isn’t a criticism of those who have, or are, making such efforts – but there is no escaping the reality that they simply haven’t been credible or regarded as a real threat.

But now – with the unprecedented degree of public contempt for the establishment, the various disasters and scandals engulfing them – and the looming elections – a shiver has gone down their collective spine.

They know that – this time – this might just be it.

Over 800 years of entrenched and, effectively, unopposed power could finally be about to crumble.

To be honest – the incompetence, arrogance and hubris of the establishment – their seemingly un-ending succession of disastrous misjudgements – has actually been very helpful to our cause.

For example, as I’ve said to some people, Phil Bailhache’s speech last Monday – in which he attacked me and made manifestly insupportable assertions concerning the Jersey judiciary – was brilliant. If I had written it myself – I couldn’t have calculated it to be more damaging to the establishment.

And the vibe I’ve picked-up – both freely offered – and – err – overheard – is that the powers-that-be in Jersey are afraid – very afraid.

As I said in previous posts, I’ll write a detailed autopsy of the debate and the oligarchy when I have time – this is just a brief up-date.

But in the mean time – just check out today’s copy of The Rag – AKA, the Jersey Evening Post.

Jersey’s only newspaper has always – throughout its 118 year history – been the house-journal of the island’s oligarchy. The bias – and worse, actually – such as the concealing of child abuse scandals – by the Jersey Evening Post has been beyond parody – by some margin – for a very long time.

But – in 2 or 3 editions in recent weeks, it had actually shown some marginal movement away from total pro-establishment propaganda – and had actually challenged the authorities – and even published one or two anti-establishment stories.

Did this herald some final recognition on the part of The Rag of its embarrassing failure to even faintly appear like a credible part of the Fourth Estate?

No chance.

The Rag has always known that – to retain a faint appearance of credibility – it does have to – very occasionally – do the odd anti-establishment story. Hence their 2 or 3 recent examples of meaningful journalism.

But today – with the threat of the Jersey Charter movement – it’s straight back to business as usual.

For an example of the establishment’s fear, check out their editorial comment in today’s edition. It’s a classic.

And remember – when reading this – that I will write a detailed autopsy of the debate – in which I will include various quotes from the speeches given by other members – especially Senator Ben Shenton.

The Rag says of the Council of Ministers – and me – that:

“Their ability to meet targets and their generally measured approach fails to win popular support whereas the passion and demagoguery of Senator Syvret still succeeds in winning a degree of public approval – even when he so willingly sacrifices substance in favour of bitter invective, intemperate personal attacks and plain abuse.”

Got that?

The Jersey oligarchy are measured, calm, effective elder statesmen – who’s every utterance is a model of factually analysis, substance and polite and restrained interpersonal debate.

OK?

And my performance – by way of contrast – is merely ‘demagogic invective, of no substance.’

Now – fix those assertions by The Rag and its bosses in your mind – and then wait for my detailed analysis.

I’ll be providing you with a factual account of the debate – of what certain members said – and of what I said. Of the oligarchy’s speeches, we will be taking a particular look at Ben Shenton’s “measured” contribution of “substance” – in which he described me as a “destructive communist”, who’s speech had been “a me, me, me speech.”

No “demagoguery, invective or plain abuse” there, of course.

I’ll also be comparing and contrasting the written and verbal – err –contributions of the oligarchy during their removal of me last September.

Not to mention an account of the plain, evidenced, shameless lies they peddle.

As I’ve said many times before – you think I’m too hard in my judgments on the Jersey media?

Wait for my detailed response to events – and then judge for your selves – just who the vacuous, abusive, demagoguery comes from – me – or them?

Hell – I know I’m no diplomat – but frankly, my retaliatory efforts against the Jersey oligarchy are models of restraint compared to their output – and also have the certain advantage of being factual and evidenced – to the extent I’m prepared to be cross-examined on them under oath – when things come to court.

As they will – one way or another.

In the interim – result!

Naked fear and panic from the shysters.

If we needed any encouragement in our attempts to organise politically – this is it.

Stuart.