CHILD ABUSE IN JERSEY: #1

And Why it Persists.

Mike Pollard, the Chief Executive of Jersey Health & Social Services: a Case Study.

Part 1.

This is the first of two posts which examine the fact – for it is a fact – that the “culture” amongst Jersey’s civil service – a “culture” which enabled horrifying child abuses to be concealed for decades – remains in existence right to the present day.

I will try and get the second of these two posts up later this evening.

These posts address the question of Mike Pollard – Chief Executive Officer of Jersey Health & Social Services.

A comparative newcomer to Jersey – but, in truth, a man who “went native” with record speed.

In particular – I want to focus upon a letter he wrote to all Jersey H & SS staff, dated 14th September last year (2007)  following my removal from Ministerial office on the 11th September.

I reproduce that letter below. Read it – absorb it.

I will publish my reply to it in the second of these two posts.

It is a reply I drafted last year (2007) One which I was never able to deliver – because within hours of me getting the bullet as H & SS Minister, my ability to e-mail all the H & SS group-addresses had been blocked by the States of Jersey, so as to prevent me from communicating the truth to about 2,500 people  – that vast majority of who are good and conscientious professionals, many of who were frightened and confused at management’s persecution of whistle-blowers.

So this seems a good a time as any to exercise my ‘right of reply’ – now that I have about 18,500 unique site users.

The Jersey establishment like to peddle the notion that all of the terrible child abuse issues we have been coming to terms with – “whilst regrettable” – reflect what took place a long time ago.

“Today – things are very different. Everything in the garden is rosy now; even our poodle – err, sorry – ‘independent expert’ – Andrew Williamson says so.”

Really?

Just how plausible do we think that claim is? Now that we know it’s not just Haute de la Garren we are considering?

Now that we are aware of gross abuses of children carried out in Jersey right into the 21st century?

When we can read a letter authored by the Chief Executive of Jersey H & SS a matter of months ago – in which – in response to my concerns  – he asserts that what he: –

“actually found, without exception, was that every instance and every matter I looked into had been dealt with to the highest possible standard. Never before in my 30 years of practice have I found a service that has got it so right, so well and so often to such a high standard.”?

Claims to the effect that “every thing is just fine with child protection in Jersey today” are – literally – incredible.

We need only read Pollard’s letter to see that sadly – things have changed little. The clowns – the liars – the ethically bankrupt shysters and other assorted con-men who seem to gravitate towards highly paid positions in Jersey, are – even as I write – still trying to conceal failures.

Speaking of which – back to Mike Pollard, present Chief Executive Officer of Jersey Health & Social Services.

There was a time – God it seems an age ago – when I used to think Pollard was OK.

I know, I know – it seems so ridiculous now. But bear in mind that the acting Chief Officer he replaced was one Anton Skinner.

I thought Skinner was crap back then – even without knowing of his predilection for permitting the battery and torture of children to take place for the best part of a decade – whilst not telling the Police.

Amazingly – Skinner remains working in the social care charitable sector in Jersey. Quite what these organisations imagine they are doing in not suspending him – Christ knows??? (Well – as Skinner’s main charitable sector boss is the rape & child-abuse concealing bent Advocate & “judge” , Julian Clyde-Smith, we can’t be surprised.)

My moles inform me that Skinner has, of late, been making visits to Pollard’s office on the fourth floor of the H & SS administration building.

No doubt they feel a compelling urge to “get their stories straight and squared” – maintaining the “good”, customary Jersey “Let’s All Stick Together For Mutual Protection” methodology.

You know?

The Jersey civil service “culture” which has enabled the concealment of the battery, rape and torture of vulnerable children.

For at least seven decades.

And reproduced below is a recent example of the self-same culture of concealment and of mendacity.

As I said – read this letter from Pollard; a missive which was e-mailed to about 2,300 H & SS staff.

If you can – and I know it’s hard – set aside the horror of this episode, just for a few minutes as you read Pollard’s letter.

If you have the philosophical constitution of Samuel Becket – you may be able to laugh out loud at the sheer hubris and folly of it.

But then – crucially – check out my next post – which will contain the ‘world exclusive’ publication of my hitherto suppressed reply in response to Pollard – which I wrote last year.

Here is Pollard’s letter.

Read it and weep.

Stuart.

Health and Social Services Department
Corporate Administration
Peter Crill House, Gloucester Street
St Helier, Jersey, JE1 3QS
Tel: +44 (0)1534 622285
Fax: +44 (0)1534 622887

To All HSSD Staff : 14 September 2007

Our ref: JMP/LAW

Dear Colleague

Child Protection Services and our Children’s Services More Generally.

On Wednesday last, I wrote to you following the dismissal of Senator Stuart Syvret as the Minister for Health and Social Services, which became effective the previous day.

The Jersey Evening Post reported the dismissal and included in that report was the following statement:

“Members backed Chief Minister Frank Walker’s move by a 35 to 15 margin, effectively deciding that his attacks on his own staff, other civil servants and politicians over the recent rows have been unjustified”.

In this letter to you I wish to focus on the ‘unjustifiable attacks’. I do know that the Chief Minister and the Chief Executive to the States of Jersey are currently preparing to make a rounded, comprehensive and positive statement about the competence and professionalism of those members of our staff (and staff working in other States Departments and agencies). They will, of course, be sending these resolute messages to the general public of the Island and I expect those powerful messages to be released next week.

It is for me though, to send powerful messages to all of you who work in the Health and Social Services Department.

A letter to all our staff is important because speaking to some of those working in Child Protection Services and our Children’s Services more generally, advised me that there has been a great deal of support for them from their colleagues within the Department, who know them and who have trusted them in the past. However, they also tell me that they feel some of our staff in other sectors are not quite sure what has been going on and that they have detected some discomfort when meetings, however informally, have taken place. It is right, therefore, that I fundamentally and categorically make the position clear as far as Child Protection and Children’s Services staff are concerned.

In early August I asked Senator Stuart Syvret, the Minister for Health and Social Services, two fundamental and basic questions which go to the heart of this matter. These questions are as follows:

‘Do you know of any child who is not receiving a competent service from our Department?’

‘Do you have information which you are withholding which, if given to me, would allow me to make the lives of a child or children better?’

Senator Stuart Syvret answered both these questions by saying, clearly, ‘no’.

You will also be aware that Senator Stuart Syvret, as Minister, invited people to come forward to him with details of any incident of child abuse or any untoward incident of this nature. As a consequence of his call, he asked me to investigate two alleged incidents. The first concerns the circumstances surrounding the departure of a member of staff. Following my investigation into this matter, the Senator accepted that this had been handled correctly. The second concerns alleged incidents which occurred in the mid -1980s, which of course is over 20 years ago.

Right up to and including the debate last Tuesday, I have been expecting the Senator to give me information about unresolved issues of child abuse or any untoward incident of this nature, but I have received none. The obvious, positive and unequivocal conclusion that we can all draw from this evidence is that the Child Protection and Children’s Services have no case to answer. The truth is – as if we did not know it – that these are highly respected, caring professionals who work in one of the most high risk sectors of public service.

In addition to the investigations (referred to above) which Senator Syvret asked me to investigate, you will appreciate also that the Chief Minister and the Chief Executive of the States of Jersey have also asked me to investigate some allegations which were brought to their attention. What I expected to find in undertaking all of this work was that the vast majority of such allegations were groundless and could be easily rebutted. To be perfectly honest though, I did expect – because this is the way that the world usually turns – to find that one or two instances had not been handled as well as they could have been. What I actually found, without exception, was that every instance and every matter I looked into had been dealt with to the highest possible standard. Never before in my 30 years of practice have I found a service that has got it so right, so well and so often to such a high standard.

I trust, therefore, that this letter has put beyond any scintilla of a doubt that the Child Protection and Children’s Services operate to a very high standard and have an unblemished record. I will not take kindly to anyone who seeks to make mischief with these hard working staff on these matters.

A great deal will have to be done to rebuild confidence in these services and a number of meetings will be taking place over the next few days. Some of these will involve the Chief Minister and the Chief Executive to the States of Jersey – two very senior people who maintain close contact with me, at least on a daily basis. I do know that of all the complex and important issues on their respective agendas at the moment, the matter of repairing the damage to morale within these services is predominant.

Yours sincerely

Mike Pollard
Chief Executive

direct dial: +44 (0)1534 622285
email: m.pollard@health.gov.je

10 thoughts on “CHILD ABUSE IN JERSEY: #1

  1. Anonymous

    Stuart, if you want to know about the child abuse that is happening right now, at this present time, the place to look would be the family courts and adoption agencies.

    It’s the same pattern in Jersey as it is for the UK, the way these investigations are handled, the way the children were abused in the past, so no doubt the current abuse is the same.

    The abuse in the UK has not stopped, I can assure you of that. I don’t live in Jersey, but I should imagine that what is going on in the UK is also going on in Jersey, and I am aware of child abuse ongoing in the UK. I am hearing stories about child abuse every day, not in the past, but right now.

    Zoompad

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Stuart.

    Has this Mike Pollard any paperwork to prove that he investigated any of the alleged abuse cases, if so tell him to show the public, if not its the same old cover up agin which we have in the UK.

    They have tried to tell me that there was a police investigation regarding the guy who abused me and many more boys in care, as of yet they still have not come forward with such proof. My Social Service records have all gone missing (Very Strange) all records of me being in the home have gone missing with many more.

    When we got our abuser to court, it was thrown out and the Judge called it ‘An Abuse of Prosess’ because they state that there was no case to answer in 1972 so why is he in court now. The police never come and asked me for a statement when they investigated him, they did better than that, they send 6 of home without a case conference, they got rid of us before the police came.

    What a cover up this Mike Pollard is trying to do. What he has to remember, is that there are more of us than him, and we can fight harder.

    Keep it going Stuart mate you have all our support.

    Jim Browne

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Don’t worry Stuart, the truth will come out very soon and the public will know exactly what you know to be true.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    How strange!

    My social work records have all gone missing too, and my medical records have been meddled with!

    But there are plenty of people who remember what happened to me, I still live in the same area, you see, and besides, people love a good scandal round where I live. You can’t keep stuff like that a secret round here!

    Zoompad

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Mike Pollard – wonder which standards he used for the investigation

    I met his previous UK secretary. She didn’t know I was from Jersey what an interesting conversation I had.

    Shame on you Mike!

    Reply
  6. Antje Seeger BLOG

    M.Pollard question Nr.1 :
    “Do you know of any child who is not receiving a competent service from …..”?
    M.Pollard question Nr.2 :
    Do you have information which you are withholding which,if given to
    me……”?
    (taken from his letter to social service staff)

    -These two questions
    (if he ever asked you these)
    seem to be the evidence,that he/they had done nothing to get his/their OWN informations !

    -Was it necessary to ask you these two questions,
    after he (M.Pollard)was asked by
    you (Stuart Syvret) “to investigate
    the two alleged incidents”?

    -When M.Pollard was asked by you to investigate,-then I assume
    he has got informations during
    the period of investigation !!
    ANTJE ALEXANDRA SEEGER / Germany

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Where is the vote of no confidence or at least ‘suspension’ of this Chief Officer.

    Rumours have it that he narrowly escaped a vote of no confidence in the past but managed to wriggle out of that.

    Of course, the other problem is who could be trusted to take over his role. At the moment, I would not put my goldfish under their care, let alone the most vulnerable and needy of our society.

    Shame on you, Jersey government.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Stuart, surely you see by now that the protocol for firing is based upon the seriousness of the allegations.

    If one only sexually abuses children in care, that appears extremely minor to those in authority and can be entirely excused provided it can be easily covered up from all outside prying by real investigative journalists. It is ridiculous to presume that Jersey’s professional child care authorities would have any responsibility to prevent future abuse cases in other jurisdictions when they feel so little obligation to prevent it here.

    It does not necessarily mean a bad reference should be provided to the next employer. Oh, no. Indeed, a glowing recommendation or even promotional transfer within Jersey may be in order in some cases if the perpetrator is especially well-connected or deferential enough to the ruling elite.

    Now, contrast that with your unforgivable crime of so rudely stating unwelcome facts about your department or of your damaging the adult morale of incompetent but well-positioned care givers and supervisers in ways which might actually challenge someone’s authority.

    No question, Sir! Such outrageous behavior demands immediate sacking and a long term campaign of character assassination through the JEP proxies.

    How dare anyone be impolite enough to suggest such very different “crimes” are in any way comparable! One would think the morale of employees in social services were as insignificant as, say, a child who’s life has perhaps been ruined by the people entrusted with her well-being.

    After all, we can see now that an entire chain of professional command has been set in place seemingly to prevent such a child from mattering very much at all.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Stuart

    Having lived and worked (for H&SS) on the island some years ago I feel that I am in a position to comment on many things – in particular the corrupt and incompetent managers of the service. I can understand how the situation of child abuse has arisen and has continued for many years.

    At the time of my tenure within the island you only needed to look at who was in charge – James Le Feuvre, Anne Hommer, Don Guilliett, Anton Skinner, Gloria Le Lievre, Mike Tomlinson, Angela Body and Lesley Higgins to name but a few. How one could expect the delivery of a high calibre service with those at the helm is beyond the wit of man. A case of “if you scratch my back – I will make sure that yours is always covered”……Then came along Mr Pollard – what a steal from the NHS – or so you thought Stuart.

    Hm – indeed that seemed like the “jersey way”. They would have been hung drawn and quartered if they were workingf in the good old NHS – wouldn’t last 2 mins!

    I think you were very naive listening to the those oncompetent plebs Stuart.

    The biggest mistake you made was to let Lynne Swiatczak go – someone with integrity and was making life uncomfortable for those around. But then I guess you succumbed to the bully boy consultants – of which there are many, in particular in anaesthetics, orthopaedics and ENT – I am sure you could name those involved quite easily.

    Maybe there should be an appeal from Gorden Brown to bring back Lynne Swiatczak – someone with more balls than all the men on Jersey put together!!!

    Yes she was blunt to the point of being quite rude at times – but I think that you would still be in office – and the children and people of Jersey would be confident of a well run, open and quality service.

    Instead what has the island got – I am sure you really do not want to know!

    Reply

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