Ian White – Author of the Report of the Inquiry into the management of childcare in the London Borough of Islington (1995)

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Ian White and Kate Hart were the authors of the final Islington Inquiry in 1995 ‘Report of the Inquiry into the management of child care in the London Borough of Islington’. An Addendum to this Report named 32 staff from Islington who should not be working with children. This list remains confidential to Islington Council.

At the time of this Report, Ian White was Director of Social Services for Oxfordshire County Council. He was previously Director of Social Services in Hillingdon and also worked in East Sussex. He gained a CBE in 1995.

‘At last they admit it: we were right’ Evening Standard 23.05.1995

“He was made CBE in 1995 and in the same year was asked by the London borough of Islington to lead an independent inquiry into its handling of allegations of organised abuse in its children’s homes. The inquiry report said it was possible that many of the [organised abuse] allegations were true, identified 32 staff alleged to have been involved, and described the running of the council as ‘disastrous’.”


Ian White obituary, Guardian, 22.12.2017

Ian White died in December 2017. His obituary in the Guardian by his wife, Imogen White, can be read here and is also printed in full below:

Ian White obituary

by Imogen White, 22nd December 2017

My husband, Ian White, who has died aged 70 of a brain tumour, was a director of social services in Hillingdon, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire, and may be best known for having led a high-profile inquiry into child abuse in Islington, north London.

Ian was born in Manchester and spent his early childhood in Sale with his maternal grandmother, Florrie Gregory, after the death of his mother, Freda (nee Gregory), from polio when he was two. His father, Arthur White, who was in the RAF, remarried and moved to Bradford, to where Ian eventually moved, too, joining Arthur and his wife Paddy and their children Sarah, Jane and Paul.

Ian did not thrive at St Bede’s grammar school in Bradford, and left with three O levels. He joined the former West Riding county council in 1964 as a management trainee and subsequently worked in management for Manchester council (1969-71) and East Sussex council (1971-82). At East Sussex, however, he ended up in social services, a route he then followed with a move to the London borough of Hillingdon, initially as assistant director of social services and then as director.

By now widely known for his clarity of thought, professional integrity and persuasiveness, as well as his often irreverent sense of humour, he became director of social services at Oxfordshire county council from 1988-95, and during that period served as president of the Association of Directors of Social Services from 1991-92, when councils were preparing for the challenge of running England’s new community care system.

He was made CBE in 1995 and in the same year was asked by the London borough of Islington to lead an independent inquiry into its handling of allegations of organised abuse in its children’s homes. The inquiry report said it was possible that many of the allegations were true, identified 32 staff alleged to have been involved, and described the running of the council as “disastrous”.

Ian spent the final part of his career as director of social services at Hertfordshire county council from 1995 to 2000, at which point he retired. He then served as chair of NHS commissioning bodies in the county and worked for the Home Office on drug strategies. He also had time to study for degrees in medieval history and in photography. He loved his home village of Stanstead Abbotts in east Hertfordshire and helped to set up a thriving local history society there. He was also an enthusiastic member of Great Hadham golf club near Bishop’s Stortford. To the end he retained his lifelong traits of optimism, courage and humour.

Ian married Mary Ward in 1969 and they had a daughter, Justine; the marriage ended in divorce in 1998. He and I met through our shared interest in social housing (I have worked in social services and in housing) and we married in 2000, when Ian became a devoted stepfather to my children, Anna, Sarah and Luke.

He is survived by me, his children and seven grandchildren.