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Broken home

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Jillings report

Waterhouse Inquiry

Steve Messham

Operation Pallia

CSA Inquiry

Elm Guest House

Lost Dossier


Lowell Goddard


CSA Summary

List of child abuse inquires

Cyril Smith

Lord Janner



Louise Casey


Child Protection intro’

Safeguarding Failure

Daniel Pelka

'Every Child Matters’

From blurry to blurrier

Serious case reviews

Agencies of Suspicion

Promoting a panic

‘Stranger Danger’

Family Courts

Kleinman theory



Protection of Freedoms

Young carers
















































Blast-it home

Broken home



The Failure of Child Protection


Wilful Neglect and Child Abuse - there may be a link?

Back in early 2015, PM Cameron, identified child sexual abuse as a 'national threat'. He is also calling for individual public service workers and their negligent bosses who are wilfully ignoring the evidence under their noses to be charged with 'wilful neglect'.

Dave said: “Professionals who fail to protect children will be held properly accountable and council bosses who preside over such catastrophic failure will not see rewards for that failure.”

The PM's strident posturing was brought about by the publication of a review into child abuse in Oxfordshire telling the now usual tale of institutional failings and wilful neglect. The press called for top managers to resign, just like Rotherham and Rochdale.

As usual Dave came across like a character from a Marvel comic, chest pumped out, primed for action and ready to legislate a new culture into this broken land.

The chances of anyone being charged with wilful neglect are remote because saying the words is easy, proving that someone was wilfully negligent in a court of law is a whole other game. Ask the Met' police, all you have to do is lose the paperwork.

And as far as new cultures are concerned, that was one of Dave's long term projects, like the 'greenest government ever' or cracking down on lobbying and tax dodgers, and re-writing the EU constitution or now, leaving the EU and staying in the single market.


Lost in Care

Back in October 2012 MP Tom Watson said that police should investigate a “powerful paedophile network linked to parliament". This made the world wake from its slumbers for a brief moment. Dirty work had occurred and someone was covering it up.

But cover-ups and child sex abuse were not new. Take the suppressed Jillings report, from 1996 into abuse across North Wales and beyond. When the report surfaced (in 2013) it had been redacted into uselessness on the advice of local authority insurers, Municipal Mutual Insurance, who were worried about the cost of compensation claims arising from libel claims. Jillings had all sorts of hurdles put in his way by the police and councils in North Wales, so many in fact, it's a wonder that he managed to report anything.

In 1996, the then Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, ordered the Waterhouse Inquiry into allegations of hundreds of cases of child abuse in care homes, mainly at the Bryn Estyn care home in Wrexham. The inquiry began in January 1997 and published its report, Lost In Care, in 2000. A number of guilty parties were named, some compensation was paid, and the usual recommendation for an overhaul of the care system were made.

The Waterhouse inquiry followed in the footsteps of Jillings and named hundreds of abusers, all care home workers or teachers. Waterhouse did not have a remit to pursue the network of high profile paedophiles who traffiked children from North Wales across the rest of the country. Waterhouse was there to suggest improvements to the care system and perhaps his efforts made a small difference, leastways 140 people received compensation for their abuse in 2000

In truth, Waterhouse's work was an abysmal failure and it's worth noting that Hague was less than astute in the matter. Specifically, he found no evidence for the existence of a paedophile ring extending beyond the care system, as had been rumoured. Fast forward - we now know there was a paedophile ring extending beyond the care system. We know that Waterhouse had the names of some very prominent paedophiles that he chose not to name, we know that police had evidence from years earlier, we know that the police had photographic evidence of the abuse. We know there was a cover up.

The current Home Secretary, Theresa May, said that "... we should look to make sure that the work that was done in relation to the Waterhouse inquiry did cover everything that it needed to cover." Typical, it wasn't that Waterhouse covered anything up, it was that he wasn't asked to cover enough? Perhaps there's a question here for William Hague who drew up the original inquiry's remit. For instance, it failed to consider allegations about children being taken out of the homes to be made available to abusers.

Steve Messham, who was abused for years at Bryn Estyn says his abusers included businessmen, members of the police and senior politicians, extending beyond the immediate area to London and beyond. It was Mr Messham who supplied the police with the photographic evidence, he also identified a senior Conservative figure from the Thatcher era as being involved in the abuse. But of course no one wanted to know.

Consider this, North Wales Police did investigate the care home abuse claims in 1991. Of eight prosecutions, seven former care workers were convicted but a report produced by Clwyd Council's own inquiry was never published because so much of its content was considered by lawyers to be defamatory, that is, the Council's insurance company did not want to foot the court costs.

So now we are to have an investigation into the earlier investigations, as well as, the work of Waterhouse. It was announced that the National Crime Agency would be taking a hand as well, they wouldn't just inquire, they'd operate under the name of Operation Pallial. Upshot? They interviewed a lot of people about abuse, they arrested and prosecuted a few care workers but no businessmen, members of the police or senior politicians.

Twelve years after Waterhouse and another inquiry into abuse in North Wales was under way, perhaps this time it would have that wider network of paedo's in its sights. Then again not. It's remit was to make sure that the Waterhouse inquiry was carried out properly, whatever that means. BBC's Newsnight interviewed abuse victim Steve Messham who talked of the involvement of businessmen, members of the police and senior politicians in child abuse.

And will prosecutions result, will the guilty be named, will someone own up to the total failure of the care system in Wales since the year dot - yes, it really has been that long.

In Sum: A child gets abused or dies, politicians react, academics research, recommendations are made, new laws are passed, quangos are set up, practitioners absorb their new responsibilities and clueless inspectors inspect. What should happen, doesn't - another mystery.

And ‘Mr Cameron said: “These are very, very concerning allegations, they are dreadful allegations. We must get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible on behalf of the victims."

Don’t hold your breath, you’ll expire. They say that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) will be of the Hillsborough type. We think that means it will drag on for 26 years and the victims will eventually extract the truth like a rotten tooth, only to find the diseased root has been left in. Ah, but we wonder, will the cover-up merchants be able to find a patsy like David Duckenfield to take the rap for child sex abuse.

However, before you fall asleep, let me remind that your one time PM and first citizen of Chipping Norton once described the historic child sex abuse claims as a "conspiracy theory". Then he told us that child sex abuse was a 'national threat'. We are not sure if our chum from Chipping Norton was trying to confuse us, that is, we are not sure if he had yet made the link between Right Honourable buggers and Pakistani molesters.


Not a few MPs including Nick Clegg and former Liberal leader, David Steel, would like to forget the past or put otherwise, some people might be seeking to pretend they were not there when the pin-striped buggers were hopping in and out of bed with little boys down at the Elm Guest House, in Barnes, West London. No, not there at the Guest House but not sitting next to them in the House the morning after, having a little chit-chat with a bugger of small boys and pretending he wasn't a bugger. How appalling now, when journalists are asking them what they knew. It's worth noting how guilty our free press is of silence on the matter of high level child abuse, with all that phone hacking going on they must have known.

However, a journalist from the Exaro website tipped off MP Tom Watson that something rotten had gone on and a number establishment figures were involved. This prompted Watson to ask Dave at Prime Minister’s Question time what he thought about it all. Um, next we learn that Operation Fairbank is under way, a secret police investigation, this morphs into Operation Fernbridge, an open criminal investigation and then, Operation Midland is added to mix.

We learnt that back in 1983, MP Geoffrey Dickens gave a dossier on the child abuses to then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, Brittan gave it to someone else and they lost it. Who lost it? Was it the police, was it the Home Office, was it the cleaner - who knows?

Simon Danczuk MP had been tracking the stench of Cyril Smith for some time and by 2014 he had connected him to the Elm Guest House. It was all too much for Dave, our leader, he told Home Secretary May to get an inquiry in place - that’s where he hit a brick wall. Mrs May seemed unable to choose an appropriate chair person for the inquiry. She called on Lady Butler-Sloss, no good, too close to the events of yesteryear, then she called on Fiona Woolf, no good, neighbours with the Brittans’. How far would the Home Secretary have to go, that is travel, to find an individual without any personal interest in this inquiry.

The failure to select an independent chair person can be explained variously. It may be all part of an establishment attempt to misdirect and manage outcomes, along the lines of most government inquiries, where two years and more are spent data churning, interviewing, scapegoating, report writing and then not implementing any of the of the recommendations that follow.

This intended inquiry is about more than ex-MPs and government ministers hiding in the shadows of the Carlton Club, it’s about institutional failure as well. The behaviour of the police, NHS, schools, social workers, children’s charities, politicians and local authorities towards victims who reported their abuse. However, the Home Office itself is right in the frame of this inquiry and indeed it was that department which ‘lost’ the Geoffrey Dicken’s dossier, that forced the government into this inquiry.

There’s only one certainty in all this, the victims of child sexual abuse are not happy with May and they do not trust this government to deliver a genuinely independent inquiry that brings the buggers face to face with their hideousness and hands out suitable punishment.

In December 2014, the Home Secretary wrote to all the members of the IICSA inquiry to inform them their services were nolonger required. She was considering setting up a full judicial inquiry?


In February 2015 Mrs May went 12,000 miles to find someone to head up her inquiry in to child sex abuse. She had now, hopefully, found someone untainted by the old boy establishment and friends of the Paedophile Information Exchange in the shape of New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard. Lowell says she is up for the challenge and has decided that she will not be publishing before 2018.

Worryingly, she started talking about learning from past mistakes. What was to learn. Surely the remit was to to discover who the child buggers were - name them all, the politicians, the civil servants, the policeman, the clierics, and the children's charities who ignored the cries for help.

Interestingly, Mrs May also said that the abuse inquiry would have access to MI5 files, adding:

"My intention is that the fullest possible access should be made to government papers in relation to these matters. Where there are files where there are certain issues around who can have access to those files we will need to ensure that we have an appropriate means of ensuring that the information is available to the inquiry panel.”

Just a moment. Was it not MI5 who told Lancashire Special Branch detective Tony Robinson to forget about Cyril Smith and send them all the evidence of Smith’s abuse in Rochdale. After this a police investigation into Smith’s abuse activity in London was scrapped. Smith was arrested, the police had video evidence, this implicated Smith and a senior member of the intelligence agencies.

We also know that MI5 and the police threatened abuse victims and whistleblowers. They were warned not to talk, they were told they would fall foul of the Official Secrets Act and in the case of whistleblowers, their pensions were at stake. Don Hale, investigative journalist gave the police evidence on Smith and Leon Brittain and was personally threatened by Smith. How did Smith know that Hale was the source of the evidence, unless the police had told him.

The point of the Wanless Review may be lost on many people but perhaps he might like to consider a review into how the NSPCC responded to child sex abuse victims of the Westminster buggers between 1979 and 1999? It is almost as if someone is trying to persuade the historic child sex abuse inquiry, that there’s no point in focussing on the Home Office because they do not know anything.

Back in 2013, the Home Office commissioned a review into how it handled abuse allegations between 1979 and 1999. There was also a question over some missing paper work. The missing documents came from Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in the 1980s detailing the activities involving the sexual abuse of children by prominent public figures. A "dossier" was handed to Leon Brittain in 1984, when he was home secretary, about alleged paedophile abuse in Westminster in the 1980s. Brittain passed the dossier onto the Home Office and they lost it.

Quite what the Home Office was reviewing is uncertain since all the documents relating to sex abuse had been ‘lost or destroyed’.

Was the Home Office covering up? Mrs May told MPs: "I cannot stand here and say the Home Office was not involved in a cover-up in the 1980s and that is why I am determined to get to the truth of this.” In an effort to get to the truth she set up the Wanless Review. Upshot? Nothing, Wanless didn’t find the missing Dickens dossier. Wanless moved on and asked MI5 if they wouldn’t mind having a look and they said they couldn’t find anything relevant. We do hope it wasn’t too much trouble for them.

Readers note: Peter Wanless is the NSPCC Chief Executive

There was a fly in the ointment for Mrs May and her expert inquiry team, MI5 do not have any files relating to paedophile activity among politicians, police offices and MI5 agents.

However, Lowell Goddard lasted until October 2016 and it is now clear she thought it good enough to learn from past mistakes and was not interested in bringing anyone to book. She was paid £80,000 get lost money, euphemistically termed severance pay. She received wages of £360,000 from April 2015 to August 2016 and took 44 days off to work in NZ and Aus’, in addition to her 30 days of annual holiday leave.

New Home Secretary Amber Rudd thanked Goddard for her efforts: “It is testament to your commitment that you have taken the difficult decision to stand down having set the inquiry firmly on course, and allow someone else to lead it through to the end. With regret I agree that this is the right decision.” No one can accuse Rudd of not having a sense of humour. Lowell Goddard walked away from inquiry because she could not cope with its scale:

Strands of the inquiry

Accountability and Reparations
Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale
Children in custodial institutions
Children outside the UK
Child sexual exploitation by organised networks
Lambeth Council
Lord Janner
Nottinghamshire Councils
Residential schools
The Anglican Church
The internet
The Roman Catholic Church


Summary: On the 7th July, 2014 the government set up an inquiry into the way public bodies investigated and handled child sex abuse claims. Baroness Butler-Sloss was chosen to chair the inquiry. Butler-Sloss lasted seven days before standing down. Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf took up the chair. She lasted until October 2014. Home Secretary Therasa May closed down the inquiry and reestablished it with New Zealand high court judge Dame Lowell Goddard in charge but she had a problem putting in a full week. She too stood down in August 2016. Professor Alexis Jay, who led the Rotherham abuse inquiry, was appointed the new chairwoman. The inquiry hit the buffers, lawyers started to resign and survivor groups let it be known they were unhappy with Jay. Shirley Oaks Survivors Association pulled out in November 2016. December: Every former resident of the Shirley Oaks network of children's homes in south London is to receive compensation for being at risk of abuse dating back decades. Lambeth Council is set to pay tens of millions of pounds to people whether or not they were abused at Shirley Oaks.


A List of child abuse inquires and investigations

Operation Fairbank, an umbrella inquiry, covering Op' Fernbridge, Op' Athabasca, Op' Midland, Op' Cayacos. All these inquiries are being run by the Met Police, in cooperation with Manchester Police, focussing on the likes of Cyril Smith at the Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square, Grafton Close Children's Home, as well as, the Paedophile Information Exchange.

In Northern Ireland they have an inquiry to look at systemic failings by institutions or the state in their duties towards children in their care between 1922-95. This is also focussing on Kincora Boys' home. The Scottish government have their own public inquiry looking at child abuse within institutions run by the Roman Catholic church. We can only wonder why this inquiry stops at 1995, is child abuse nolonger a problem across the water?

Wales has the Pallial Inquiry ongoing and they have appointed a judge to revisit the 2000 Waterhouse Inquiry, which seems to have missed a thing or two.

Operation Yewtree, which is sort of a celebrity investigation, so far they have nabbed a number of individuals, including Max Clifford, Rolf Harris and Dave Lee Travis and Stuart Hall, and of course, the now dead but once untouchable beast, Savile. Public revelations over Savile's behaviour sparked a flurry of investigations by every institution that was tainted by Savile, while they looked the other way.

In September (2014) Association of Chief Police Officers set up an information gathering operation, Operation Hydrant, from police forces across the country exploring the links to elected officials and institutions such as hospitals, schools, children's homes, care homes and parliament and child sex abuse. The data gathering has now been done but the man in charge said the numbers showed only a "snapshot in time". He also said: “We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of reports that are coming forward".There is no doubt (Jimmy) Savile has had an effect on us. We are dealing with more and more allegations.” He expects more than 100,000 by the year's end.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, chair of the group, told the briefing that out of 1,433 alleged offenders identified nationwide, 76 were politicians, 43 were from the music industry, seven were from sport and 135 were from the TV, film or radio industries. Some 216 are now dead.


It would be nice to hear what the man on the Clapham Omnibus made of all these reviews, inquiries, and investigations, and to know whether that man was able to disentangle the announcement that the Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate how three police forces dealt with information about paedophiles supplied by Canadian police.

This investigation is about to happen because the Essex, North Wales and North Yorkshire police did not deal in a timely or urgent manner with the information supplied. And our own version of the FBI, the National Crime Agency have already apologised for their sloth.

The IPCC says it takes the abuse of children seriously, that’s reassuring. However, this investigation has nothing to do with historic child sex abuse by establishment figures. We already know that the police have an appalling track record in sex abuse cases. The IPCC action is apparently driven by “considerable public concern about how the police deal with sexual offences involving children”.

The man on the omnibus may well conclude that there is a connection between Wanless and this investigation, both are designed to reassure the public that something is being done - straight from the first page of the Cynics Handbook, ‘being seen to be doing something’ may be confused with purposeful action and is therefore highly desirable.

The police watchdog was also set to investigate whether detectives covered up child abuse involving senior police and politicians as recently as 2005. This new investigation will cover the period 1970s to the 2000s.

The investigation was set up following allegations that police suppressed evidence, covered up the involvement of politicians, and hindered or stopped investigations. These claims were referred to the IPCC by the Metropolitan Police's Directorate of Professional Standards. Let us not get confused, the IPCC will be investigating police corruption. The Met will carry on with its attempts to track down the paedophiles.


Cyril Smith: Unfinished business

During any government regime the ghosts and misdeeds of the past may come back to haunt the present. The cover up by the establishment for decades of Cyril Smith's disgusting molestation of small children may superficially have nothing to do with Mr Cameron and his government. However, when we learn that the Cabinet Office blocked FoI requests for information concerning who put Smith forward for a knighthood, we may wonder why? Eventually they gave up the name, it was David Steel.

Newspaper men managed to track down Steel to the hobbit hole where he now lives, from there he described Smith's nastiness as 'ancient' and after all Smith was in the Labour Party when he was busy disciplining young boys in Rochdale, so his activities had nothing to do with the LibDems. Steel still had his 1979 copy of Private Eye and had even re-read it for his interview. That is it, that is as proactive as he was prepared to be - all too much trouble for an ageing hobbit?

We suggest that Steel broadens his reading to include a publication from 2014, i.e. Smile For The Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker. And something for Steel to think about, use of the word ancient, to chase away demons from the past will not wash; we may not be able to easily find the bodies but we can still smell the stench of wrong doing.

The thing about Liberals and public school types in general is that they do not see much wrong with a bit of spanking. Least ways this was how Liberal leader David Steel viewed the handy work of paedophile Cyril Smith, yes, Mr Clean laughed off the vile behaviour of Smith. Many knew Smith was a nasty piece of work, a beast who would be most comfortable in Jimmy Savile's mobile home and yet they all turned a blind eye, the police had enough evidence to arrest Smith but all the evidence was hidden from the public gaze.

Interestingly, none of the national newspapers ever wrote about Smith creeping around the corridors of boys homes in the dark. Someone high up the food chain was covering up for Smith, perhaps that someone was part of the same paedo' gang. Towards the end of 2014 we learnt that at least two newspaper were threatened with D-notices over printing anything about paedophile rings among the establishment. The people responsible for issuing D-notices tell us today that they have no evidence that this action was taken to prevent the publication of revelations.

Nick Clegg, Lib-Dem leader and deputy Prime Minister, told us in 2012, after Smith's behaviour 'officially' came out of the shadows: "I am deeply shocked and horrified by these terrible allegations and my thoughts are with the victims who had the courage to speak out." That was the same Nick Clegg who led the cheer leading for Smith when he left politics, telling the world what a marvellous chap he was and what a great contribution he made to the party. More recently Clegg was at pains to distance himself from the taint of Smith, claiming it was all so long ago for him to know anything. Some critics pointed out that he would have had more credence as a leader if he declared an intention to launch a party led inquiry, and root out and name anyone who covered up for Smith. No, not Nick, he just wanted to forget the whole thing.

Cut through all the agonising, and empty expressions like "this must never be allowed to happen again", and children continue to be abused and mistreated. Those agencies with a remit and an ambition to protect children have failed.

Everyone knew about Jimmy Savile, least ways they heard rumours and yet no one spoke out. The few victims who did were ignored or punished by the child protectors, the unwitting facilitators of Savile's abuse. Savile died in 2011 and the BBC were set to run tribute shows over the Christmas period. At the same time, Newsnight were set to air an expose of Savile's abuse, mysteriously this was dropped from the schedule, the tributes were not. The man in charge of Vision at the BBC, then director general, George Entwistle, was told about the Newsnight story but never bothered to ask what it was that Newsnight had to tell. He claimed he didn't ask because he didn't want to interfere, the decision to pull the piece was made by Newsnight editor Peter Rippon. Pressed at an inquiry to explain his lack of interest, Entwistle responded "It was a determination not to show an undue interest”.

It was people without undue interest, people without curiosity who allowed Savile to ply his sick trade at the BBC for fifty years. But with over 200 victims of Savile's abuse coming forward, all the safeguarders have displayed a suitably panicked curiosity. Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary told us:

“I hope every single person in the law enforcement world today are accepting the fact that things were badly wrong,” he said. “It should never happen again.”
Lord Janner: "I don't believe it!"

Lord Janner

Back in April 2015, the DPP told us that Lord Janner was too demented to mount a defence against those who accuse him of sexual abuse, going back decades. Janner's old MP chums and lords a leaping don't believe that Janner, the jolly good egg, could have engaged in child buggery. Ed Miliband says he was shocked to hear of the allegations. We wonder whether he was more or less shocked than Nick Clegg, when he found out, belatedly, about the disgusting Cyril Smith.

However, we also learnt that former DPP, Lord MacDonald, was not told in 2007 that a case against Janner had been dropped by 'local' CPS people. Unbelievable, the idea that some 'locals' would take it upon themselves to drop a high profile case without telling the guy in charge? But be reassured, he told us:

"If it had been referred to me, I would certainly have given it my close and robust personal attention."

Janner should have been arrested at least three times over the past 30 years. The police had enough evidence but the man never came before the courts. Why wasn't Janner pursued, who were the senior police figures who told their troops to drop the Janner cases? Ah but, it's foolish to ask such questions, when we have a prime minister in David Cameron, who believes that 'we can't know anything because there's nothing to know'. By which he means because all the evidence keeps going missing.

We do know that the police were just about to pounce on Janner when Alison Saunders, currently heading up the CPS, pulled the plug, due to Janner's mental state - "not in the public interest", she said. We think that's political speak for 'the public don't need to know'.

We could ask 'What about the victims' interests'. How will they be served having been denied their day in court? Saunders has the answer, they can tell the Historic Child Sex Abuse Panel all they know, which will gain them the sum of nothing.

Alternatively, if they want some retribution, they can sue Janner for his pension and tough luck if he's too demented to turn up.

Readers' Note: The Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, has oversight for the CPS and can if he chooses, decide to prosecute?

Janner update, August 2015: Janner was threatened with arrest unless he turned up in court, so he did, saying as he entered the courtroom "It's very nice, isn't it? Janner died in December 2015.


Rochdale: a case study in failure

In May 2012 nine men received heavy jail sentences for their part in a child sexual exploitation gang that groomed young vulnerable girls in Rochdale. Later in the year there were more arrests and charges relating to grooming and child abuse in the Rochdale area. Lynne Jones, chairman of Rochdale borough safeguarding children board, told us:

"The board has been working very hard to ensure vulnerable children and young people are protected from all forms of abuse."

"Together with Rochdale borough council, Greater Manchester police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the NHS and our other members we have clear strategies in place to combat child sexual exploitation, which sadly is happening in most towns and cities."

"We are committed to dealing with the issue, ensuring children are protected and those committing this type of crime are brought to justice."

Lynne must be missing something here, the girls concerned were abused, they were not protected by all these marvellous agencies working together. Police, prosecutors and social services faced severe criticism in the wake of the Rochdale trial, victims had not been believed and a series of mistakes were made. Well, nobody likes to be criticized and forces of safeguarding went into overdrive in the Greater Manchester Area, dedicating 400 police officers to crack child exploitation rings.

Buoyed by recent successes the police were uncharacteristically upbeat: “We now have a much better understanding of the signs to look for, plus there have been significant improvements in the sharing of information between agencies.”

This came from Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle behaving as if some miraculous transformation had taken place in the year of 2012, nothing short of a revolution in child protection. Perhaps, all we know for certain is that a particular culture in place at Rochdale’s children’s services led to young girls in distress being dismissed by officials as making "lifestyle choices". Steve Garner, who was in charge of children's services, until just before a damning report into his department was due be published, went to ground, refusing to face the music. Meanwhile, Lynne has been busy handing out 10,000 leaflets aimed at "raising awareness" of abuse among young people. Rochdale abuse: another sorry, that's it, that's all you're getting...

An inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse cases by Greater Manchester Police concluded that all the agencies involved failed in their duty to the victims. Put simply, the police in particular blamed the victims, not the perpetrators.
Interestingly, the Chief Constable told us that it was the system that had failed. Why he was asked were no police officers called to account, they were, said he, they were told off but they couldn't be blamed due the failures of the system. There was one that could be blamed but he jumped ship and retired. It remains a puzzle as to how a senior police officer managed to abstract the inaction his men from the system. Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley assured us that lessons had been learned.


Bad news from Rotherham

The Jay report into more systemic failings by the safeguarding industry highlighted the abuse of up to 1400 children, some as young as 11 years old. Following the report in August 2014, all the safe guarders went into a collective huddle and claimed ‘collective responsibility’ for the failure to protect the children. The police chief tried to claim it was historic and that things are much better now. The reporter interviewing him pointed out that it was going on last year. The chief ignored the facts and insisted that things are better now. Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire’s crime commissioner refused to resign. Wright was in charge of children's services between 2005 and 2010. He was provided with a report in 2006 which provided "stark evidence" of what was going on in his domain but he appears to have ignored it. His deputy commissioner has fallen on the proverbial plastic sword but Shaun refuses to take responsibility for any failure on his part.

Meanwhile, Uncle Tom Cobley and Nick Clegg have called on Wright to get lost, Nick said: "Please do the decent thing and stand aside because you have to take responsibility."

Jay’s report: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013) points out for Mr Wright that no one can say “we didn’t know” because they were told! Note: we believe that Mr Wright finally got the message and requested the plastic sword.

Joyce Thacker, the director of children’s services (pay £115,000) thought that the emphasis of the her department's work should be placed on child neglect. Apparently, abuse and sexual exploitation took up a very small fraction of the children’s services. It was Thatcher who removed three children from their foster parents because they voted UKIP. She decided they were not multicultural enough?

A year earlier in Derby 11 men faced charges of grooming and sexual exploitation of children. In 2013 seven men were convicted for rape, sexual violence and torture of children in Oxford. As in Rochdale and Rotherham the vast majority of the perpetrators were Pakistani in origin. One argument says that the all the powers of safeguarding were more concerned with ethic sensibilities than protecting children. Another argument says, the parents of the victims are to blame, perhaps and assuming the children were living at home and parental responsibility had not already been removed by the safe-guarders. And worth mentioning, in all instances, the lack of interest on the part of the police was outstanding.

Let's remind ourselves that last year's report into abuse in Rotherham by Alexis Jay found that children as young as 11 "were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators, beaten, intimidated and trafficked to other cities in England." We are not talking about a few isolated cases, local MP Sarah Champion said that she thinks the number abused could be as many as 2,000.

At the minimum the shadow people should never be allowed to hold public office ever again.

Following the publication of Louise Casey's report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, the entire council resigned and ran for the shadows. These people knew of the abuse occurring on their watch, they ignored and conspired in it, brainwashed by too many diversity seminars. The chief perpetrators were Pakistani and council officials could not bring themselves to face up to the issue of race and immorality. We can only wonder why the whole of South Yorkshire Police did not resign as well. If anything the behaviour of the police towards victims and their families was itself criminal. They say the IPCC is investigating ten officers from South Yorks Police. So we can expect that to get lost in the back of someone's filing cabinet.


Meanwhile in Oxford

Following a repetition of Rochdale and Rotherham in Oxford, Labour MP for Oxford East, Andrew Smith called for yet another independent inquiry, itemising the failings of the present care system as he saw it:

"We saw failure to act on clear evidence of organised sexual exploitation; failure to provide protection to children; failure to draw serious issues to the attention of senior management; failure to heed the concerns of junior staff; chaotic arrangements for child protection; un-minuted meetings; and a professional disregard for the illegality of young girls being forced to have sex with older men."

Note: the chief executive of Oxford Council is paid £250,000 a year and she's going nowhere, unless she's pushed. Chief Constable Sara Thornton is going.


Child Protection

Child Protection - intro’

Understanding Safeguarding Failure

Daniel Pelka: No lessons learnt

The Quiet Abandonment of 'Every Child Matters’

A shift of focus from blurry to blurrier

Young carers - Hidden from view

Under the radar' young carers denied support

Beyond Good Intentions

Agencies of Suspicion and Fear

Promoting a panic

Institutionalised Suspicion ‘stranger danger’

The so-called Family Court and the problem of Expert Witnesses

The Kleinman theory



Safeguarding Agencies: The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012)






Child Protection



There are 39,000 children on the child protection register across the country. Putting a name on a register doesn't add up to safeguarding children. The register is part of a complicated process of safeguarding; the process doesn't work.

Ofsted confirmed that between April 2007 and August 2008, 282 children died of neglect, or abuse in the care system. Of that total, 72 died in accidents, stabbings or shootings while in foster or residential care, while the remaining 210 died of abuse or neglect at the hands of their families. This means that 12 children are killed by some form of abuse each month. (The Times, Dec 2008)

Consider the fact that provision for children in care is almost exclusively in private hands. Local authorities are paying around £200,000 per child a year to private providers who seek out the cheapest accommodation, well away from support groups and the case workers who placed the children in care in the first place. Economists call what's happening to cared for children a case of market failure.

Agencies like the NSPCC, CEOP, Childline and many others have a mission to protect children, none are very good at this, mainly they excel at spreading fear of adults among children, and crucially they spread suspicion among adults of each other.

In the history of child protection a big turning point came after the Soham murders. The police were severely criticized by the Bichard inquiry in 2003. Specifically, Bichard was inquiring into procedural failure. Briefly, Ian Huntley, a school caretaker, who killed two young girls was known to police as unfit to work with children but no one was tracking his employment record.

The inquiry's main recommendation was establishing a registration scheme for people working with children and vulnerable adults such as the elderly. The development of this recommendation led to the foundation (2008) of the Independent Safeguarding Authority. It also suggested a national system should be set up for police forces to share intelligence information. The report said there should also be a clear code of practice on record-keeping by all police forces. It was overlooked that Huntley's association with the girls was made through his girlfriend not through his workplace.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was to oversee a new Vetting and Barring Scheme working with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), to prevent unsavoury types working with children. Hence, anyone intending to work with children required a CRB check. The ConDems, responding to the outrage that this scheme caused, in which everyone became a suspect, decided to remove the need for people wishing to work with children to prove they are decent people by being checked through the CRB. From 2012, the ISA and CRB are no longer 'working together' they were merged - the main function will now be to 'keep lists' of types unsuitable to work with vulnerable people. Sadly, these agencies of safeguarding have left a dirty stain.


Understanding Safeguarding Failure

Children are killed every day at the hands of their carers. Sometimes the systemic failure of the agencies of caring make the headlines and then politicians leap into action.

Victoria Climbie died Feb 2000, she was starved to death after prolonged abuse at the hands of her guardians. Social workers, police and NHS had failed to raise the alarm. Lord Laming was set to work: he advised a complete overhaul of child protection policies. Most of his 108 recommendations become law in the 2004 Children Act.

Three years later Laming, having been called on again, noted that many of his recommendations had not been taken up by local councils. Laming's observation is crucial to grasping the failure of child protection in Britain. Something mysterious is happening between the passing of laws and their enforcement. Clearly, the agents of safeguarding tasked with following a new set of guidelines and practices, quite simply, didn't. And another child died needlessly.

When Peter Connelly died in 2007 the gaze of the whole nation fell upon the borough of Haringey. The main focus was on Haringey and child services director, Sharon Shoesmith, but once the Sun had finished its vitriolic attack on social workers, the focus was then on the failure of child protection in general.

Could it be that Laming's recommendations were unworkable or simply didn't work, that is, they didn't fit with the actual work that safeguarders were doing. The politicians sent for someone else - Professor Munro.

Professor Munro's report stressed that early help is vital to keeping children safe, and proposed that local authorities should be given a duty to provide early help. Munro made a number of new recommendations but most were contradicted by the ConDem Government's cuts agenda. For instance, services that 'intervene' early to prevent children ending up on the child protection register have been cut by an average of 20% across the country.

However, Munro did recommend that Ofsted be taken out of the picture, if only to improve everyone's moral. That organisation was totally discredited after re-drafting its report, for Ed Balls, into Haringey's performance in the Baby Peter case, 17 times. Ofsted's role is to gauge whether organisations are meeting given standards of performance. One minute they gave Haringey a glowing report, the next, they found the council wanting. Ofsted's somersault was miraculous, for an organisation that can hardly be described as athletic. Historically, this picture has a parallel with the Climbie case, where the Social Services Inspectorate revised its own glowing report into Haringey child services and then, after the first part of Lamming's review had ended they decided to submit their revised report.


Daniel Pelka: No lessons learnt

Victoria Climbie, 2000, Peter Connelly, 2007, Daniel Pelka, 2013, lessons learnt, zero. All the talk of agencies working together, sharing information, to protect children has unwittingly contributed to failure by removing individual responsibility to act. For example, at some point in the early 2000s, school's were told to appoint a member of staff responsible for child welfare, teachers were told to refer any concerns to this member of staff (who had been issued with a Framework Document, containing the details of who they should refer their concerns to), the teachers themselves were told to take no action themselves, like contacting parents directly or questioning children about their condition.

Daniel Pelka spent the four years of his life in misery at the hands of his parents, they beat and tortured him and systematically starved him. Everyone who came into contact with Daniel knew 'something was wrong' but did nothing. Teachers, and other so-called professionals all watched like stunned simpletons, the few who did report their concerns were ignored.
The so-called multi-agency approach that is supposed to protect vulnerable children was introduced after the murder of seven-year-old Maria Colwell in 1973 at the hands of her parents. On paper, this joined up working makes perfect sense but consider the following. Victoria Climbie was known to four London boroughs' social services departments - Haringey, Ealing, Brent and Enfield - three housing departments, two hospitals - Central Middlesex and North Middlesex - two Metropolitan police child protection teams, and a specialist centre run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. At the trial of Victoria's so-called guardians all these agencies were described as "blindingly incompetent".


The Quiet Abandonment of 'Every Child Matters'

Daniel Pelka died as a result of maltreatment and this led once again to a serious case review which trotted out the same platitudes as the one into Victoria Climbie's murder. When New Labour introduced its Every Child Matters campaign, it did children a disservice. The policies associated with Every Child Matters shifted the focus for those involved day to day with children from intervening to writing down their concerns, passing on their concerns, filling out the necessary paperwork, covering backs but doing not a lot.

The importance of Every Child Matters should not be underestimated, it had a major impact within education and for local authorities and health services. Every Child Matters represented an attempt to raise the profile of emotional development, as well as, intellectual development within education. The focus, the message, was safeguarding the well-being of the child.


A shift of focus from blurry to blurrier

However, Mr Cameron cunningly shifted the focus, after his 2010 Coalition deal. Henceforward the focus would be on achievement, not well-being. He even changed the name of the Department for Children, Schools and Families back to the Department for Education, together with a new logo devoid of happy little children frolicking around. Ofsted would no longer be looking for schools to promote children’s spiritual, social and emotional well-being. In fact, under Dave, Ofsted's checklist was reduced from 27 items to just five. And schools under pressure to perform may have viewed promoting emotional well-being a waste of time, if the inspectors were not looking for it.

The point is that when you are forcing all schools to become academies, outside of local authority control and allowing every me-first parent to open up a free school, it will be pretty hard to do all that joined up intelligence work on behalf of the child. And under Mr Gove’s scheme of things, for-profit schools will be added into the mix, making the idea of all encompassing frameworks ever more difficult. Beyond blurring lines of communication between schools and local authorities, these new schooling arrangements present a further problem, in circumstances where sponsorship is involved, schools may be reluctant to be open about their failures in the realm of child protection.

In sum: all the agencies responsible for looking out for vulnerable children are not doing a good enough job. It's time to build a bonfire with all those New Labour Framework documents and, get back to a position where the people who come into contact with children they have concerns about, do something about it, not just pass it on and forget it but follow things up and ask what's being done.

And do not expect much to improve under the current Coalition, they are not interested, if they were they would have a bigger and better Every Child Matters campaign and they would make sure that all those people who earn their living pretending to care about vulnerable children did their jobs properly. A positive start would be to stand down Ofsted from its brief to oversee the child protection regime - evidence abounds that it is not fit for purpose in this area.

Further, research by Big Brother Watch published at the end of 2012 unveiled the scale of errors in the criminal record check system. Between 2007 and 2012, 11,893 people successfully challenged CRB results after wrongly being branded criminals or had irrelevant or inaccurate information disclosed during criminal record checks. Compensation of £1.9m was paid out as a result.

Big Brother Watch found that when people challenged information held by the police, 3,519 people were given someone else's criminal record and 4,088 people found inaccurate information or a wrong identity was being held on the police national computer.




Beyond Good Intentions

Beyond initiating inquiries and writing reports, the ConDem Government demanded full discloser of child abuse cases. Possibly a sop to the Sun. Previously, information was only provided in summary form. What followed was interesting.

Before a child is removed from its guardian a serious case review must be undertaken. In the parlance these are called SCRs. They are costly, a simple case may cost £40,000 and something more complex, upwards of £100,000.

Over a twelve month period, the number of SCRs fell by a half. Should we conclude that the number cases of children at serious risk had fallen to a half the level of the previous year.

Again, another mystery, could it have something to do with the fact that councils couldn't afford the cost associated with SCRs? Could it be that the innocents involved in these cases didn't want every detail of their lives revealed in public? Also, staff involved at the time were not being asked to participate fully in an inquiry, they were marginalised; so those that knew most contributed little to the process.

What we do know is that the authors of these reviews were struggling to write them in such a way as to protect identities and thereby, for the best of intentions, were not the telling the full story.


Agencies of Suspicion and Fear

In 1987, 121 children were taken from their parents in Cleveland, based on the views of two paediatricians. Social services were convinced that they had uncovered a satanic coven at work. There is some suggestion that the clinicians were influenced by articles they had read in US journals on child abuse. A Government report in 1994 confirmed there never was any evidence of ritual satanic abuse in Cleveland.

In 1990, the NSPCC decided to issue a ‘Satanic Indicators’ pamphlet to various social service departments. Unsurprisingly, armed with the guide supplied by the NSPCC, social workers started to discover hives of satanic worshipers abusing children. In Orkney, 1991, parents had their children stolen by social services amid suspected ritual child abuse - based on the evidence of three other children.

An inquiry report in October 1992 criticised Orkney Social Services and produced 194 recommendations for changes in child care practices. No one noticed that the whole premise of a child protection service needing 194 changes was fundamentally flawed? Undeterred the NSPCC continued to manufacture the child abuse panic, hiring Saatchi-and-Saatchi to promote its messages that all adults are potential abusers and needed to be watched.


Promoting a panic

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (where parents are able to discover if someone who has contact with their child is a convicted paedophile) which was rolled out to all police forces in England and Wales in 2011 was "a major step forward in our ability to protect children from sex offenders". The Scheme (also known as Sarah's Law) was set up in 2008 and has been rolled out to all 43 police forces in England and Wales. Details of the Scheme can be found on the Home Office website, as well as, The Parents Protect! website. Note: only visit this site if you want to get into a panic.


Institutionalised Suspicion ‘stranger danger’

The Ministry of Justice revealed that in 2005, 1,363 people were sent down for sexual offences against children, in 2010 judges sentenced a record 2,135 people for sexual offences against children, a 60% increase. (BBC story, 2/9/11)
So Donald Findlater of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (who set up Parents Protect!) was happy that more adults were being convicted. But he was unhappy that the number was not higher still, why? Because ‘it’s still the case that most children who are sexually abused do not report it’.
Its invisibility – the ‘secret crime’, as ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen called it – is proof of its existence, i.e. ‘stranger danger’. Sorry, if its invisible how do you prove that what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg - well you just can't.
What you do is set up a Child Exploitation and Online Protection unit (CEOP), the quango behind the Lee and Kim cartoons, SID the superhero in these cartoons is the real-life incarnation of CEOP.  Initiatives, websites, agencies, have all conspired, from the best of good intentions to institutionalise the corrosive expressions of suspicion in the minds of adults and children alike.



The so-called Family Court and the problem of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are being used in secret family courts to help social workers take children away from their parents. One in five experts that are being employed on outrageous fees to provide support for the removal of children are not 'experts'. This conclusion was drawn by Professor Jane Ireland, a forensic psychologist, writing a report for the Family Justice Council.

One expert witness wrote a 235-page report, costing £14,000, finding that a mother was “likely to have a borderline personality disorder” – he had never met her. In another case, three expert witnesses were called to give evidence against a mother, the first two experts commissioned by social workers told the court that they found nothing wrong with the mother, so social workers brought in another witness who found the illusive borderline personality disorder - the mother had her three children put up for adoption.

The president of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir James Munby, called for greater transparency in the family courts (Sept' 2013). Munby described the ‘pressing need’ to open the courts to public scrutiny, he said:

"The powers of the family court were among the most drastic that any judge in any jurisdiction is ever empowered to make".

The powers of the family courts are draconian. The court has a range of powers to break up allegedly ‘troubled’ families, applications can be made without families being present, judgements can be passed in secret, and injunctions placed on reporting some or all of the court’s proceedings.

And will Munby's intervention make an ounce of difference to the operation of the Family Court system? No, legislation created this draconian system, so it will take the politicians to change the way it operates. It also worth noting that Sir James is no civil rights campaigner, transparency to him means, unless there's compelling evidence, don't allow the public to gaze into the secret Family Courts; and who decides on the question of compelling evidence, that's right, the judge in charge of the secret court.


The Kleinman theory

Dr Kleinman's theory is simple, non-accidental injuries are a sure sign of abuse. This idea is frequently heard in the Family Court and when social services wheel out an expert witness, touting Kleinman’s  ideas, there's no chance for the parent on trial. A couple's young son was removed by social workers for nine months, with a view to possible adoption, after two paediatricians suggested that a small bruise on the boy’s forehead was caused by parental abuse – unusually the judge found the doctors’ evidence unconvincing and ordered the boy to be returned to his parents. Typically, in the secret Family Courts, judges just take the word of the experts, which Lord Justice Wall described as "the glory of our family justice system". That justice system is removing 900 children a month from their natural parents, so is the adoption and fostering system in place to deal with this?



The number of children requiring short term foster homes is in the region of 900,000. Local authorities hand out fostering contracts to charities and private companies; there is no common approach and the legality of some contracts is in doubt. The Fostering Network is the forefront foster care, they do not support foster carers who find themselves in the nefarious Family Court, under threat of being delisted. The Network doesn't want to upset the LAs. Foster carers who stand accused by a child of abuse have no right of reply, and there are no tribunals.



Local authorities are not doing well when it comes to placing children, they are not meeting their targets. The best local authorities take 13 months to place a child, the worst over 3 years.

Stop Press: Dave has a plan (July 2012)

Dave decided to speed up the adoption process. Babies finding themselves in the care system are taking too long to be placed with people who want them. Dave's speedier scheme will give them a better start in life. He told the press:
".... I'm changing the law and calling for urgent action – both from local authorities and from potential adopters - to get the system moving."
Dave was forced into action when it was disclosed that just 60 babies under the age of one were adopted in 2010/11.


Safeguarding Agencies: The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012)

Our leader takes safeguarding seriously and he's made efforts to change existing arrangements concerning people who wish to work with vulnerable people. The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent, May 1st, 2012. This Act removes the Controlled Activity and Monitoring sections from the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act and creates a new body corporate to be known as the "Disclosure and Barring Service", which would adopt some functions currently held by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Well, that's the problem of safeguarding sorted and according to Home Secretary Theresa May, it will save the tax payer a £100 million. Excelsior, on to the next problem.

However, the Bill includes a wide range of measures that citizens interested in protecting their freedoms should be aware of but in terms safeguarding, the key part of the Bill:restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting     vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks. (Source: Parliament UK website)

Clarification: the Queen does not personally give her Assent to make a Bill law, in fact the monarch has not done so since 1854, the Queen's agreement to give her assent to a Bill is automatic.

So when does this Law go live, well it could be on the day it receives the Royal assent, or it could be when the government issues a 'commencement' order; the best way of looking at it is to say that all the departments and agencies touched by this new legislation are under starter's orders. Only those who are really in the know will know when the starting pistol sounds or perhaps you will, if you transgress. The Government is in the process of issuing Guidance on each part of the Act. And Guidance is urgently needed, unfortunately the panic created by child protection agencies throughout the past three decades has now become embedded within our culture. Another piece of legislation cannot undo the damage that that panic has done to social relations between children and adults.




The child protection system is suffering from systemic failure. The tragedy is that all involved know it. The coalition government of  Dave know it but do nothing about it. Political  inaction is far worse than that of the behaviour of the vilest parent or guardian. A snapshot of life for some children in Britain is provided by the following list.

Children negatively impacted by parental alcoholism range in numbers from 920,000 to 3.5million. Those impacted by parental mental health difficulties range from 50,000 to 2million. Children impacted by domestic violence are thought to be just under 1.8million

3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty. Almost 1.5 million children in the UK experience neglect. 16% of children aged under 16 experienced sexual abuse during childhood. 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Source: - visit the website for a much longer list.



Young carers - Hidden from view

Child protection is about more than watching out for nasty people like Jimmy Savile. The Children's Society published a report called 'Hidden from View' examining the plight of Britain's young carers, there could be as many 700,000 caring for sick and disabled relatives. They are not really hidden, Mr Cameron knows all about them, indeed he met a small group at No. 10 just after he'd moved in and listened intently to their complaints. Chiefly, they complained about disappearing support from local authorities. And Mr Cameron said it was not on, local authorities needed to reset their priorities, stating that it was not on, that the young were not being allowed to be children and were having their educations damaged by caring responsibilities. He also added in that schools also needed to ensure that they are playing a key support role in the lives of these young carers. He didn't say what he was intending to do about anything.


'Under the radar' young carers denied support, says study


By Judith Burns
BBC News
27 December 2016

the Children's Commissioner for England suggests that the vast majority of young carers are "off the radar".
This is "absolutely unacceptable", according to the Commissioner, Anne Longfield.


Missing out

Jack administers Andy's medication, prepares food and drink, helps him move around the flat and pushes his wheelchair when they go out.

He and his father have a very close relationship - but both parents fear their son has "missed out on a normal upbringing".
For the past year Jack has been part of a young carers project run by Hounslow Council in west London which provides crucial support.

"I go there after school sometimes. It's like a respite. You can go there and relax and talk to people who are in the same position as you," says Jack.

Local councils have a statutory duty to assess the needs of young carers, but many do not get the help they need, the study suggests.
The researchers asked every local authority in England for the numbers of young carers they support.

Funding cuts

Of England's 153 local authorities, 118 provided data, revealing that they are supporting 28,000 young carers aged between five and 17.

But these figures are massively short of the 166,000 young carers identified in England by the 2011 Census.

Having adjusted the figures to account for not receiving data from 35 councils, the researchers calculate a shortfall of almost 133,000 or 80% of young carers.

"Not all children with caring responsibilities will need support from their council but it is vital that those who do are properly assessed and the right help put in place," said Ms Longfield.

"This report poses significant questions for local authorities about how they identify, assess and support young carers.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to have so many children with considerable caring responsibilities going under the radar, invisible to the authorities and denied the opportunities available to other children.”

The Local Government Association said councils across England were working hard to ensure that young carers are properly supported - but said this was "proving increasingly difficult", given funding cuts and rising pressure on children's services overall.
"The limited funding available has to be carefully targeted at those children and young people who are in the greatest need [and] unfortunately, this means that councils are forced to make increasingly difficult decisions," said Richard Watts, chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board.

"However, it is important to be clear that young carers who aren't receiving support are not 'invisible' to authorities; all young carers should receive an assessment to establish whether support is needed, with new assessments undertaken if their circumstances change," said Mr Watts.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Young carers are this country's unsung heroes, selflessly providing support for the people they love, but their own needs can often be overlooked.
"That's why we changed the law to make sure young carers are identified and supported as early as possible, and councils are responsible for delivering this.

"Next year we will be publishing a strategy looking at the issues affecting these children and what more can be done to give them the help they need."