John Rea Price

It there is one person who could answer some of ISN’s unanswered questions over so many years of investigation – it has to be John Rea Price as he was head of social services for 20 years during the time of the child abuse scandal. Perhaps one day he will be willing to meet with us.

John Rea Price was Director of Social Services in Islington from 1972-1990.

As a graduate from the London School of Economics, he had worked in Islington and Stoke Newington Probation for 3 years and in 1965 became an Islington Senior Child Care Officer. In 1968 he became a lecturer at the National Institute of Social Work (NISW) in charge of fieldwork based in Southwark, and in 1970 worked at the Home Office as a Children’s Services Inspector. He was also an advisor in the Children’s Department Development Group. The Home Office Advisory Group wrote ‘Care and treatment in a planned environment. A report on the community homes project‘ (1970) which acknowledged the contribution of Peter Righton (p35) in relation to the section on staff training. Peter Righton (member number 51 of the Paedophile Information Exchange), later became Director of Education at NISW. He was appointed by Hermas Rees Jones Director of Social Services to take over the position in 1972.

The Times 5.7.68 p24 John Rea Price working at NISW

John Rea Price left Islington’s employment in 1990 following a disagreement over policy developments and began work at the National Children’s Bureau in April 1992 – before the Islington abuse scandal was exposed in October 1992. It is ISN’s understanding that he will not speak in public about any matters concerning his employment over 20 years in Islington and has not contributed to any of the local authority inquiries. It is also ISN’s understanding that a number of staff reported concerns to him and one such complaint from 1983 is listed below in relation to Gisburne House. The two staff who wrote it told ISN they had no response from the Director.

John Rea Price would have appointed Clifford Heap and was responsible with him for implementing the policy shift to smaller children’s homes within the Borough – a policy promoted by the Home Office Advisory Group. Between 1965 and 1971, properties were obtained and converted within Islington to enable smaller children’s homes with high staff ratios to be established in order to enable close intimate relations between staff and children. Clifford Heap was responsible for appointing the Heads of these homes some of whom ISN know to have sexually and physically harmed children and who had no background in child care. Some had been in the police or military and others had been car mechanics or had similar unrelated, inappropriate careers.

1999-2005 John Rea Price was HM Inspector of Prisons and Specialist Inspector for Children

Islington Gazette, 07.03.1972

Jan 27th 1972, Health and social services committee

“This evening was devoted to the appointment of a new Director; I was interested and attended as an observer. John Rea Price was the most impressive and indeed the successful candidate; he was with us for 18 years, well regarded and with a national reputation. I recall Gerry Flynn saying ‘Rea Price? Not at any price!’ But John got the job and a salary of £6000 per annum…”

Pat Haynes (1994) An Islington councillor 1971-1992


“Mike Devenney congratulates John Rea Price on becoming President of the Association of Directors of Social Services a great honour. John had a national reputation but had been under severe criticism often unfairly for lack of financial stringency.”

Pat Haynes (1994) An Islington councillor 1971-1992
Report sent to John Rea Price by Gisburne House staff (names redacted), 1983. This was sent twice by the two staff members and no response was received
Two paragraphs from ‘Submission to the Independent Management Review into aspects of child care in Islington July 1993’ presented by BASW on behalf of Liz Davies to Brian McAndrew ( Chair of the Review) and copied to to Herbert Laming at the Social Services Inspectorate and to The Obscene Publications Unit at New Scotland Yard.
Council minutes, December 1990
Community Care, 1991
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