This report (Report #16) is the sixteenth of a series of ISN themed responses to the Sarah Morgan review. In these reports Islington Survivors Network present a challenge to the findings of Sarah Morgan QC
This report focuses on the period of time from the Evening Standard exposé until the month after the White Inquiry is published
October 1992: Evening Standard exposé
6 October – 8 October 1992: Evening Standard exposed allegations of abuse of children in care.
The Evening Standard Allegations concerned organised networks of abuse operating in the few streets behind Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office.
The Hot House (See also Report #6)
Some details of the social workers’ report on Duff and the Hot House were presented to the Irene Watson Neighbourhood Forum in April 1990
“Social workers in one office were visited by a stream of tearful, apparantly drugged children caught up with a local man. Staff discovered that he had twice been imprisoned for running child brothels and once for supplying drugs. Despite probation service warnings Islington had upon release housed him opposite a children’s playground and close to a unit for vulnerable families. The children mostly known to social services or in care dropped hints about a place called the Hot House but were too scared to say much.”Fairweather E (1998) Exposing the Islington children’s homes scandal: a journalists view in Hunt G (1998) Whistleblowing in the social services. London: Hodder p29
Exposed by social workers, the Hot House abusers trashed the flat, leaving drug scales, piles of hardcore pornographic magazines, with sexual graffiti and symbols written across the walls and fleeing the scene in a hurry. The suspected prostitute and abuser husband vanished taking their young children with them. No statutory authority has looked for them since 1992.
In March 1994, Cassam & McAndrew suggested that one of the Islington inquiry reports (Case EC) raised questions over the Metropolitan police’s effective action and that the police should review their actions in the handling of reports about the Hot House. ISN question if there was any such review?
7 October 1992: The Guardian reported that Sandy Marks:
- “claimed the [Evening Standard] had paid former residents of the homes for information.”
- stated Islington’s children’s homes were inspected monthly; and
- that the Council had handed to the Social Services Inspectorate details of all the cases cited and the action taken by agencies involved, including the local district health authority and the police.
Without Appendix 7 it is unknown whether the review package Marks refers to as handed to the Social Services Inspectorate above formed part of Morgan’s review.
Who took the signed statements from two former residents who said that they were ‘offered money for information’?
Hodge claims she didn’t speak directly to any children. See further Report #17.
Why weren’t these two statements persuasive to the Press Complaints Commission in March 1993 when they rejected the Council’s complaints against the Evening Standard?
Thursday 8 October 1992: In an interview with LBC radio Margaret Hodge picked up Sandy Marks’ false allegation of the day before – namely that children were bribed by the Evening Standard – repeated it and added new detail that children were having £50 notes waved at them outside children’s homes [Evening Standard (1992) Mrs Hodge and lies. 8th October].
Having successfully smeared the child victims of Council-enabled abusers as willing to lie for money, Hodge then promptly resigned as Leader of the Council [Community Care (1992) Margaret Hodge resigns as leader of Islington Council. 8th October] and alleged borough officers were being defamed.
“In my view the way they chose to report this was gutter journalism. It was scurrilous reporting, and we have complained to the Press Complaints Commission. The story misled the public on the quality of child care services in the borough and defamed some of the borough’s officers.”Evening Standard (1992) Margaret Hodge, Islington ‘covering up’ child abuse scandal 14th October
However, as Hodge herself claims and Marks states, Hodge’s withdrawal from the Leadership and non-attendance of council meetings beyond the 7th November 1992 did not mean Hodge had no involvement with the setting up of the subsequent inquiries during October 1992-May 1993. See further Report #17.
Instead Hodge announced the following week that a complaint about the Evening Standard had been made to the Press Complaints Council. Hodge’s condemnation of the Evening Standard included making false allegations of defamation of council officers (Evening Standard (1992) Islington ‘covering up’ child abuse scandal. 14th October).
Who was Hodge desperate to believe or protect that she sunk to the depths of defaming child victims of adult sexual predators so hastily?
Hodge was joined in the immediate round of victim-blaming by Lyn Cusack and Sandy Marks who gave statements to the Islington Gazette giving their views on the children and young people coming forward as not to be believed.
“That’s rubbish” said Lyn Cusack, Assistant Director of Social Services “A large amount of children who come into our care already have drink or drugs problems and gross emotional disturbance.”Islington Gazette (1992) No Sex in our kids’ homes. 8th October
Within 10 months Lyn Cusack, Assistant Director Social Services (ADSS) for Children & Families would sit on the Member/Officer Implementation Working group formed in August 1993, tasked with remedying the situation she had denied was possible to remedy.
Sandy Marks immediate response to the Evening Standard allegations was to assert children in Islington’s care were no angels before coming into care.
Sandy Marks, Social Services Chairwoman: “It is as if the kids who come into our homes turn from well-behaved little angels to prostitutes who use drugs and get drunk every night.”Islington Gazette (1992) No Sex in our kids’ homes. 8th October
Within a fortnight of the Evening Standard exposé an Islington based solicitor at Bindman & Co stated child sexual abuse on Islington Council run holidays in early 1980s was well-known about by almost all of the children attending
22 October 1992: Hot on the heels of the Evening Standard exposé came an appeal from a solicitor, Mr Robin Lewis, of Bindman & Partners, King’s Cross, who was investigating allegations of child sex abuse on holidays operated by Islington Council. He appealed for help from people who went on the holidays in the early 1980s.
“[Robin Lewis] believes that, on the basis of information he has received, the fact that abuse was occurring would have been well known to almost all the children on the holidays.”Islington Gazette (1992) Probe into holiday sex abuse. 22nd October
- What response did Islington Council give to Robin Lewis at the time, now an Employment Tribunal judge?
- What investigation was undertaken by Islington Police Child Protection Team with social services concerning the allegations of abuse on council run holidays?
- What reaction did the Social Services Committee or Case Review Sub-Committee minutes show to this news if it made their agenda?
- Did any of the allegations concern the Islington-Suffolk Project where Peter Righton fled to? Or to visits to holiday homes, luxury hotels abroad, caravan sites, narrowboats owned by or loaned to residential care workers abusing children in their care and centres such as The Stables, run by former Deputy of Grosvenor Avenue, prolific abuser of boys Nicholas Rabet?
Did Morgan QC ask Kate Hart whether the White Inquiry might have made further inquiries into Sandy Marks’ involvement in assisting children’s residential staff with organising or paying for holidays for children in care during the early 1980s?
Marks announced the choice of Tunnard & McAndrew to report on behalf of the Council
Marks informed the council meeting of [October 1992) that the investigation would be conducted by Jo Tunnard, former director of the voluntary organisation Family Rights Group and Brian McAndrew, former Chief Executive of Enfield Council (Islington Gazette (1992) I will not quit over sex probe 29th October).
At this crucial stage Tunnard & McAndrew’s report would later point out that someone from the Council had informed them that the “arrangement for investigations of incidents of organised abuse” was not to be covered by them and instead had been handed to the Social Services Inspectorate as part of their investigation ordered by Health Minister Virginia Bottomley MP.
Whether that same person from the Council also informed the SSI that Tunnard & McAndrew were to look at the organised abuse allegations, thus preventing either SSI or Tunnard & McAndrew looking into the allegations and effectively delaying any investigation into this time-sensitive aspect until at least July 1994 is a question that remains to be answered.
A number of residential care and social work staff moved on very swiftly, some hastily leaving the UK, after the Evening Standard’s early October 1992 articles. Yet, it would be May 1995 before White in characterising his role as being in the position of closing the stable doors after the horse had bolted, recognised how essential the delays created and misinformation distributed during this period were to permitting Islington’s ‘Family Secret’ (as described by Tunnard and McAndrew and see further Report #13 31 July 1984 Council Minutes) to continue.
What role, if any, bearing in mind Marks’ reported role as press spokesperson for the Council, did Marks play in creating the delay that permitted abusers to move on to other local authorities to work with children?
The Tunnard and McAndrew report’s remit was:
– Care, control & services provided to children mentioned by the Evening Standard
– Range of services provided to children at the council’s children’s homes
– Arrangements for investigations of incidents of organised abuse*
– Effective management of child care services and cases between the neighbourhood services departments and the neighbourhood offices
Marks: “We want the review to explore the nature of the allegations in full and to address any public concerns raised by them.”
*Neither Tunnard & McAndrew nor Mike Betts review of the homes nor the SSI ordered report end up covering this aspect
11 November 1992: Evening Standard hand over documents to Islington Council according to Morgan QC Review
27 November 1992: Tunnard and McAndrew’s leaflet/newsletter inviting submissions to their report is delayed by the Council and not sent out until 4 weeks before Christmas.
Christmas 1992/New Year 1993 is an anxious wait for conclusions from the Jo Tunnard & Brian McAndrew’s ‘Independent Management Report into aspects of childcare in Islington.’
Regardless of the Christmas break intervening, a delayed start, the Council making little or no effort to contact individual children and their families and delay in sending the newsletter out inviting responses, Tunnard and McAndrew are able to speak to 65 people – the most of all the subsequent inquiries.
Marks meets with Tunnard & McAndrew to agree short extension of deadline
Monday 18 January 1993: When Jo Tunnard and Brian McAndrew wanted to request an extension on the deadline for their report, it was Sandy Marks as Chair who met with them and granted the extension (Council Minutes, Social Services Committee, 18.2.93). The extension was for 2.5 weeks. They also complained that Members are not willing for them to inspect individual case files.
In particular, Tunnard and McAndrew had pointed out that their investigation of the eight individual cases of children covered by the Evening Standard and how the Social Services Department had handled each case from the point of referral to the press publicity, had ruffled some Councillors’ (elected members) feathers who had not expected to have to hand over the case files to Tunnard and McAndrew as part of their investigation:
“It seems that members did not expect us to study the case files in detail. We cannot see how the brief we were given could be done without careful scrutiny of the work and events recorded.”Tunnard J & McAndrew B (1993) Independent Management Report into aspects of childcare in Islington. Interim Report for the Chief Executive of Islington Council.3 February.10.5
26 January 1993: First interview between Emlyn Cassam and Brian McAndrew with Liz Davies.
29 January 1993: Second interview of Liz Davies with Emlyn Cassam and Brian McAndrew
February 1993: Tunnard & McAndrew announce “It has been no part of our brief so far to examine the response to allegations of organised or network abuse.”
3 February 1993: The Tunnard & McAndrew Interim Review was dated as completed on 3.2.93.
The headline of the report was that it was missing a vital issue from its remit that seemingly the Council and Social Services Inspectorate were surprised to discover was missing.
Tunnard and McAndrew were clear that the Council had informed them not to examine the Council’s responses to allegations of organised or network abuse.
“It has been no part of our brief so far to examine the response to allegations of organised or network abuse.”Tunnard J and McAndrew B (1993) Independent Management Review into aspects of child care in Islington. Interim Report for the Chief Executive of Islington Council. 3rd February
Tunnard and McAndrew’s interim report of February 1993 was to be their final one. Despite Council Minutes recording that Tunnard & McAndrew would submit their report in final form by late March/early April, Jo Tunnard would be removed from the team and replaced with Emlyn Cassam.
As Chair of the Social Services Committee, Sandy Marks delivered the news that the “report of the inquiry into the allegations has been received”. She echoed Council Leader, Derek Sawyer’s words reported in the Islington Gazette.
Tunnard & McAndrew announce allowing allegedly abusive staff to move on uninvestigated is Islington’s ‘Family Secret’
“Another recurring theme in the interviews is great concern about what is perceived as a tradition of allowing or enabling staff to move on quietly when things have gone awry in their residential work. The perceived secrecy – described as the borough’s “family secret” — engenders anxieties about the Council’s willingness to bring to everyone’s attention, and as openly as possible, the dangers young people can face from staff who hold power over them.”Tunnard J and McAndrew B (1993) Independent Management Review into aspects of child care in Islington. Interim Report for the Chief Executive of Islington Council. 3rd February. February: 8.5
14 February 1993: Council minutes of 22 February 1993 refer to council receiving Tunnard & McAndrew Interim report
17 February 1993: Meeting of emergency Case Review Sub-Committee
18 February 1993: Council meeting considered a report of the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee chaired by Sandy Marks
Sandy Marks spoke at the council meeting of 18 February as if she had undertaken a great deal of the responsibility during the 3 months awaiting the Tunnard & McAndrew review to report:
“Councillor Marks recorded her thanks to those members of the Council who had supported her during the period of review.”Report of the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee, Council Minutes, 18.2.93
During the council meeting of 18 February Cllr Chris Pryce proposed an urgent motion, seconded by Cllr Sarah Ludford. Although their urgent motion focused on forcing the Chair of the Neighbourhood Services and Sandy Marks to recognise and commit to ensuring the Council was no longer in breach of its statutory duties under the Children’s Homes Regulations 1991, the motion also deplored,
“The failure to furnish Case Review Sub-Committee with reports from an inspection officer – as first recommended by [Martin Higgins] the Director of Neighbourhood Services in November 1991.”Report of the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee, Council Minutes, 18.2.93
The Children’s Homes Regulations had come into force on 14 October 1991, timed to coincide with the Children’s Act 1989 coming into force.
Most notably Sandy Marks was urged, by Cllrs Pryce and Ludford, to consider making an apology to the children in Islington’s care;
“The Council regrets the initial and public reaction to the Evening Standard’s original articles which displayed a lack of sensitivity to the Council’s responsibilities to children in the Council’s care and wrong priorities putting public relations before the needs of these children.”The Apology Sandy Marks and 21 other councillors voted against giving at the Council Meeting of 18 February 1993
Councillors Chris Pryce and Sarah Ludford gave speeches supporting their motion, but the Leader of the Council, Derek Sawyer, moved that the motion be referred back to Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee where Sandy Marks was Chair.
22 February 1993: A meeting of the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee chaired by Sandy Marks considered the Tunnard and McAndrew Part I Report (Council Minutes, 18.2.93 above).
Interestingly, despite Tunnard and McAndrew pointedly noting that they had been told not to cover organised abuse allegations, the concern and focus of both Council officers (Martin Higgins, Director of Neighbourhood Services) and members (the Case Review Sub-Committee chaired by Marks) appeared to be that Tunnard and McAndrew had exceeded their remit rather than noticing a vital aspect had been left out.
On receipt of the Interim Report the Case Review Sub Committee (chaired by Marks) held a meeting and made recommendations telling the Neighbourhood Services Committee what do do via the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee. At the meeting two reports reports, one from the Chief Executive Eric Dear and one from the Director of Neighbourhood Services, Martin Higgins were considered.
The Case Review Sub-Committee criticised Martin Higgins for the “regrettable delays in being ready to submit Registration and Inspection Reports to the Case Review Sub-Committee in respect of the Council’s children’s homes” and placed the responsibility on “the Officers” to “ensure, so far as possible, that the agreed Terms of Reference of the Review are adhered to.”
Higgins’ report, “commented generally that the majority of the [Tunnard & McAndrew Interim] report which has been submitted covers matters which are properly the remit of the second stage report” and “that what is unacceptable is to receive findings before the review has been undertaken,” and further that the “Council wants objective findings” implying somehow Tunnard and McAndrew’s report lacked objectivity.
The motion for the apology which Derek Sawyer as Leader had put back to Marks as Chair of the Social Services & Health Policy Sub-Committee, proposed by Pryce and Ludford at the council meeting of 18 February 1993 was rejected by the committee chaired by Marks.
March 1993: Missing children’s home reports surface 4 months late
Despite starting work in September 1992 in anticipation of the Evening Standard going to press, the continuing work of Mike Betts had been paused due to a strike Betts had joined with.
Following Tunnard and McAndrew’s publication of their interim report, the Evening Standard was given Mike Betts’ partially completed reports on the physical conditions of 3 Islington run children’s homes, one of which had been reported on in the Evening Standard allegations.
Betts’ reports are not concerned with allegations of organised abuse or abuse by residential staff. Their focus is on the physical state of the properties, aspects such as unsecured windows and doors, which had been reported consistently in monthly inspections of the homes submitted to the Case Review Sub-Committee which Morgan QC noted as unresponsive.
“Sarah Ludford, a Liberal-Democrat councillor on the social services committee, confirms that Betts’s reports have still not been studied. The committee’s chairwoman, Sandy Marks, told her this week that none even existed.Evening Standard (1993) Islington: The Missing Evidence. 19th February
The Standard knows this is not true. Last week we discovered the existence of these reports and, astonishingly, that Islington had withheld them from the inquiry into its homes ordered by the Health Secretary. When we alerted the inquiry Betts was called in to give evidence.”
Did Morgan QC interview Baroness Ludford or request an interview? Did Baroness Ludford make any written submissions of her own volition to the Morgan QC Review?
Who told Sandy Marks that Mike Betts’ reports didn’t exist for her to tell Sarah Ludford that they didn’t?
What enquiries had Sandy Marks and the Social Services Committee made into the existence or availability of Betts’ reports?
Islington Chief Executive ruled out disciplinary action for employees
With no sense of the urgency urged for by Tunnard and McAndrew at Para 8.6, Marks stated, “If there is a need for disciplinary action we will take it”. (Community Care (1993) Islington carpeted in independent inquiry. 25th February).
Chief Executive Eric Dear would later state in July 1993, once Cassam and McAndrew Part II had reported, categorically that there would be no disciplinary action taken against employees, ‘There is no advantage looking at scapegoats.‘
No specific comment response was made by the Council on Tunnard and McAndrew’s finding that the council was in breach of the 1991 Children’s Homes Regulations.
Press Complaints Commission rejects all of Islington Council’s claims against the Evening Standard
Wednesday 3 March 1993: The Press Complaints Commission rejected all Islington’s complaints against the Standard.
Thursday 11 March 1993: Evening Standard reported that Mike Betts, the Islington children’s homes inspector had been demoted.
March 1993: Former Grosvenor Avenue Deputy Superintendent is arrested
21 March 1993: Nicholas Rabet, aged 43, former Deputy Superintendent of Islington Children’s Home Grosvenor Avenue until 1989, is arrested while running the The Stables Centre in the village of Cross in Hand, near Heathfield, Sussex (News of the World (1993) Pervert runs playpark in the woods 21st March). Rabet, originally from Jersey, had worked for Islington for 15-16 years. In April 1992 Sussex police, a year earlier, had reached out to Islington Council for assistance with gathering evidence of a boy in Islington’s care during the mid-1980s having been abused.
25 March 1993: Northampton Park Children’s Home
A special police unit swooped on Northampton Park children’s home where staff were reported as unable to prevent two children aged 13 – 15 from bullying a younger child.
“A report on the incident will go to the independent inquiry into allegations that Islington children’s homes are poorly run and at times out of control.”Islington Gazette (1993) Unrest quashed by crack team. 25th March
In the months following the publication of the Tunnard and McAndrew Interim Report, activity investigating the Evening Standard allegations stalled.
In May, Marks continued as the Chair of both the Social Services and Health Policy Sub-Committee and Case Review Sub-Committee.
May 1993 – Part II delayed by Tunnard’s acrimonious departure
Between February and May 1993, progress on the inquiries slowed right down. Despite Part I report dated as 3 February and received at the Council meeting of 18 February, Part II of the [Tunnard] & McAndrew review was not announced until 18 May due to the acrimonious departure of Jo Tunnard, despite the fact that the recruitment of Emlyn Cassam, Director of Social Services for Norfolk, had been reported as Chair of the Review Panel in February.
A news piece in Community Care on 27 May had announced that Jo Tunnard had been sacked from her joint leadership of the review into Islington child care. Bob Holman, Tunnard’s former colleague at the Family Rights Group, wrote into Community Care, a letter in her defence:
“As I understand it, she wishes to pursue the allegations more fully while the department now wants to concentrate on procedural and managerial issues.”Holman B (1993) Let Tunnard finish the job, Letter to Community Care. June
In particular, Tunnard and McAndrew had pointed out that their investigation of the eight individual cases of children covered by the Evening Standard and how the Social Services Department had handled each case from the point of referral to the press publicity, had ruffled some Councillors’ (elected members) feathers who had not expected to have to hand over the case files to Tunnard and McAndrew as part of their investigation;
“It seems that members did not expect us to study the case files in detail. We cannot see how the brief we were given could be done without careful scrutiny of the work and events recorded.Tunnard J and McAndrew B (1993) Independent Management Review into aspects of child care in Islington. Interim Report for the Chief Executive of Islington Council. 3rd February. February: 10.5
Although Tunnard personally refrained from commenting to the press on account of her contract with Islington Council forbidding it, sources close to her spoke to the Evening Standard’s Eileen Fairweather and Stewart Payne to speak of Tunnard’s intention to name managers who had suppressed obstructed or ignored reports of child sexual and physical abuse:
“They felt that specific allegations needed further investigation, because of discrepancies in people’s accounts, before they could make Personnel recommendations.”Payne S & Fairweather E (1993) Islington abuse case expert is dismissed. Evening Standard. 20th May
Those specific allegations concerned an invisible brick wall that was obstructing the reporting and the collation of reports of suspicions of abuse across different neighbourhood area teams, not just allegations originating with the Irene Watson Neighbourhood office where Liz Davies and David Cofie had appealed to the Neighbourhood Forum attended by Margaret Hodge in April 1990.
8.15 It has been no part of our brief so far to examine the response to allegations of organised or network abuse. But we are conscious of having been told, by a variety of different people, of the difficulties faced in trying to alert colleagues – or be alerted by them – of suspicions of abuse in local areas. We raise the matter now because we think that whoever takes on this term of reference should not limit it to an investigation of organised or network abuse.Tunnard J and McAndrew B (1993) Interim Report for the Chief Executive of Islington Council. 3rd May:8.15
Above Tunnard and McAndrew recommended that any investigation into the Council’s responses to allegations of organised or network abuse should look at the suppression and obstruction of professionals attempting to report suspected organised or network abuse.
6th May 1993: Following his conviction and fine in September the previous year, and while under investigation still, Peter Righton and his co-abuser Richard Alston had gone to live on an estate in Suffolk that Islington Council sent children to for council subsidised camping weekends and holidays. (Payne S and Fairweather E (1993) Country house hideaway of disgraced care chief. Evening Standard. 6th May)
“The Standard has established that the London Borough of Islington, whose children’s homes are the subject of an inquiry following our revelations that young people in council care were exposed to paedophiles, pimps and child pornographers, sends children to the Henniker estate under a scheme called The Islington Suffolk Project. Thousands of youngsters from Islington have holidayed at the Henniker estate, staying in log cabins, since the mid-1970s.”
“Investigators probing Righton’s background have been astonished by how he achieved such high office. He was known to Scotland Yard as a founder member of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which campaigned to legalise sex with children aged over four in the 1970s.”
“Recent scandals in residential childcare have led experts to believe that paedophile staff may be ‘networking’ nationally to exchange children and pornography – even protection. But only now are moves afoot to address this problem with investigators planning to meet Mr Herbert Laming, chief inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate, to request a co-ordinated nationwide team.”Payne S and Fairweather E (1993) Country house hideaway of disgraced care chief. Evening Standard. 6th May
June 1993: In February 1994 the Director of Social Services for Hereford and Worcester would reveal that it was in June 1993 he had raised issues arising from his team’s investigation of Peter Righton with the Social Services Inspectorate.
Where was SSI’s co-ordination of this information with the Islington inquiries bearing in mind Righton’s connections with Islington Social Services over the years and with residents who were members of PIE such as Dr Morris Fraser?
“I think it is not unreasonable to say that we discovered that there was a network of paedophiles working within the residential care system over a number of years. I have raised a number of issues with the Social Services Inspectorate and I imagine they are being discussed.” David Tombs, Director of Hereford and Worcester Social Services.
May 21st 1993, Islington Council announce the second stage of the Inquiry led by Cassasm and McAndrew with Tunnard ‘invited to participate’ just shortly before she was ‘ sacked’
17 June 1993: Which of Council Leader Derek Sawyer’s colleagues was LibDem Cllr Steve Hitchins referring to when he called the view they held: a ‘least said, soonest mended’ policy advocated publicly for children’s residential homes?
Why did Steve Hitchins appear to consider Leader Derek Sawyer as doing “so many deals in private with the narrow left wing faction that your senior colleagues so despise”?
How was Sarah Morgan QC able to rule out that this person Steve Hitchins was referring to wasn’t Sandy Marks?
Tuesday 27 July 1993: Council leaders have first sight of report Stage II Cassam & McAndrew which had been launched just over 2 months previously on 18 May 1993 (see Council Minutes, 21 October 1993 below). What was the Council Leaders (Derek Sawyer, Eric Dear, Sandy Marks) response to the realisation that neither the SSI ordered Mike Betts inquiry nor Tunnard and McAndrew’s interim report had addressed the allegations of organised abuse?
Wednesday 28 July 1993: Copy of the Cassam & McAndrew final report sent to all Council members (see Council Minutes, 21 October 1993, Agenda item #3).
At noon the council called a press conference to unveil the final report of Cassam and McAndrew – an investigation that on [22 October 1992] Sandy Marks had announced as including in its remit, “many had thought included looking into allegations that children in care were the victims of pimps, paedophiles and drug-pushers.”Islington Gazette (1993) Care report ‘hushed up’. 29th July.
11.2. I know Sandy Marks attended the Islington press conference in July 93 because I sat in the café across the road from the Town Hall whilst the Chair of BASW, David Jones, attended it. He came to me in the café rather shaken and said he had had an altercation with her. He has also repeated this to me more recently.Liz Davies’ Report to Sarah Morgan QC
Did Morgan QC interview David Jones, former Chair of BASW or request his input into the review?
Liberal Democrat Cllr Sarah Ludford, a member of the social services committee, felt she and others were entitled to see the report at the same time as council leaders – on Tuesday 27 July afternoon. (Islington Gazette (1993) Care report ‘hushed up’. 29th July).
Ludford said: “This is news management at its worst. Labour councillors are determined to manipulate the unveiling of the report.”
Chief Executive Eric Dear: “The timetable for publication is an entirely practical one and is not designed to disadvantage anyone. Councillors and staff will have it within 24 hours of its receipt. There is then a further 24 hours to read it before discussion at the social services committee on Thursday night.”Islington Gazette (1993) Care report ‘hushed up’. 29th July.
John Bowis, junior health minister, responsible for social services, said he was asking the Social Services Inspectorate to inquire into network abuse in the borough and the authority’s procedures for dealing with it: Guardian (1993) Social work changes ‘put children at risk’. 29th July.
“The most serious and worrying allegation concerned networked child abuse in the borough. It is vital that arrangements for handling this are swift and effective. To that end, I have asked the social services inspectorate to examine Islington’s procedures in this area, and they will be conducting an inspection of their own into the management of network abuse in the borough.”John Bowis, Junior Health Minister : Evening Standard (1993) Guilty as charged. 28th July
The ‘misunderstanding’ created by a council officer or member informing Tunnard and McAndrew that the SSI would be investigating the allegations of organised abuse and vice versa, so that neither did, had successfully delayed further investigation of certain residential staff at children’s homes suspected of abusing the children in their care. The ‘misunderstanding’ allowed them the time to find another job and slip away to work with children’s services in other local authorities.
Two more inquiries were announced:
“A SSI inquiry, announced yesterday by the Government, will only look at Islington’s procedures for handling complaints of abuse.” (Independent (1993) Council’s social services condemned. 29th July).
There was no immediate comment from Mrs Margaret Hodge. (Evening Standard (1993) Guilty as charged. 28th July).
27 July 1993: Davies’ lawyer sends in her submission and statement to the Social Services Inspectorate.
Thursday 29 July 1993: Special meeting of the Social Services Health & Policy Sub-Committee to consider the final report and a cover report written by Chief executive Eric Dear ( (see Council Minutes, 21 October 1993, Agenda item #3). It approved the appointment of a new children’s homes supremo, retired child care worker Anna Dunn of Barnados.(The Times (1993) Childcare standards attacked by experts. 29th July.)
FACT: In August 1993 Scotland Yard declared Islington “a magnet for child molestors” with wealthy businessmen preying on local children in care
“When I first met Superintendent Mike Hames at Scotland Yard in 1992, after listening to me for a number of hours, he told me I had a considerable amount of evidence of an extensive paedophile ring in Islington which police had known about for some time”.Liz Davies 2019
Since March-April 1993 Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad had been investigating organised sexual abuse of children from Islington’s children’s homes. Smaller groups of abusers across London and South England were procuring children for sex and networking more widely to swap information and abuse children. Scotland Yard had notified at least 6 or more Directors of Social Services to alert them to the fact that organised networks of abusers were actively targeting vulnerable children in their areas.
Was Islington Social Services Department warned by Scotland Yard? Cassam and McAndrew’s report would have read very differently had Scotland Yard’s information been available to them.
Who within Islington Social Services department during mid-1993 was notified by Scotland Yard of the suspected network of wealthy businessmen preying on Islington’s children’s homes?
August 1993: Social Services Inspectorate promise a planned inspection concerning network abuse allegations
3 August 1993: Don Brand, Deputy Chief Inspector, SSI promised that SSI will consider Davies’ submission in their planned inspection of “Islington’s arrangements for managing work arising from network abuse allegations.”
This however was not the original remit that Islington Council and the Social Services Inspectorate had both failed to ensure any of the inquiries ordered in the immediate aftermath of the Evening Standard exposé. That had been phrased as “arrangement for investigations of incidents of organised abuse”. The change of wording was subtle but crucial. Despite Caterer’s conviction, ‘incidents of organised abuse’ had over the course of 10 months become ‘network abuse allegations’. SSI was no longer expecting to look at how the Council had investigated organise abuse – merely how work created by the allegations had been managed. As yet, SSI and the Council had not ensured any of the inquiries had looked into how the Council had investigated incidents.
Despite Deputy Chief Inspector Don Brand’s assurances that there was a planned inspection concerning network abuse allegations coming up, Brand’s SSI colleague David Lambert was at the same time in July advising John Bowis MP, the Minister for Health, that as a result of various enquiries SSI were aware of a historical London Borough of Islington paedophile link but that there was no point in doing a retrospective investigation into network abuse in IWNO. Why?
Was this ‘past paedophile link’ to LBI anything arising from information SSI had received during June 1993 from Hereford and Worcester Social Services concerning Peter Righton’s links to a major national network of abusers?
Or did it arise from a realisation that abusers formerly employed as residential children’s homes workers in Islington were reuniting in Thailand around this time?
By summer 1993 SSI had a wealth of information to suggest that Islington, amongst other London boroughs, had been targeted by organised abusers, networking to gain access to children, from Scotland Yard and from Hereford and Worcester Social Services investigating Righton.
August 1993: Marks chairs the Member/Officer Implementation Group to consider Cassam and McAndrew’s recommendations
6 August 1993: First meeting of the Member/Officer Implementation Group set up to consider the detailed recommendations of the final report.
It is clear from these minutes that Sandy Marks served as the Chair of the 8-strong Member/Officer Implementation Group set up to consider the detailed recommendations of the Part II Cassam & McAndrew inquiry.
Officers were represented by the Council Chief Executive (Most senior officer of the Council) Eric Dear, and 2 Assistant DNS (Officers of the Social Services Department) Lyn Cusack and Allan James and 1 Neighbourhood Manager, Asit Acharya.
13 August 1993: Liz Davies’ lawyer writes to Sandy Marks regarding investigations of organised abuse by the council during Stage 3.
9.2. On 13.8.93 a letter was sent by my lawyer to Sandy Marks and it stated that my submission was enclosed but that my substantial statement (100 pages) had been given to Emlyn Cassam and Brian McAndrew. This statement was also sent to the Department of Health and Metropolitan Police. The letter has been made available to the Review. BASW also had a copy of the statement but none of these copies now exist. My lawyer lost my entire archive of evidence in 2003 when Margaret Hodge was made Minister for Children. Survivors asked for my help in opposing her appointment and I asked my lawyer to assist the survivors’ lawyers. I then learnt about the loss of my documentation. I do hope that this document will be located in the course of this Review – in which case I would value a copy. This is just one example of information which has gone missing.Dr Liz Davies report to Sarah Morgan QC 18.2.2018
FACT: From July 1993 Social Services Inspectorate was advising Islington Council further or ‘retrospective’ investigation into network abuse should not take place
19 October 1993: Eric Dear (Chief Executive Islington Council), and Martin Higgins (Director of Neighbourhood Services) met with Emlyn Cassam (independent reviewer) and two Social Services Inspectorate officials called David Lambert and Rob Morton to discuss what Cassam would cover in the third stage of his review.
‘unable to find any substantiation to the allegation that there is currently a LBI paedophile link, although there was once in the past’.Morgan QC Report 7.11.18: 7.14a
October 1993: SSI referred to an ‘LBI paedophile link’ which existed in the past while continuing to recommend no further investigations
The Interim Report of the Independent Management Review (Tunnard & McAndrew’s first report, dated 3.2.93) had gone to the Case Review Sub-Committee and the Social Services and Health Policy Sub-Committee. Marks chaired both.
Agenda Item. 1(1) failed to acknowledge that someone from the Council had told Tunnard and McAndrew that ‘arrangements for investigation into organised abuse’ should not be included in Tunnard & McAndrew’s remit.
Serving as Chair of the Member/Officer Implementation Group was Marks along with the then Leader of the Council after Hodge, Derek Sawyer, Case Review Sub-Committee member Joan Herbert, Chief Executive Eric Dear, two Assistant Directors of Social Services Lyn Cusack and Allan James as well as Asit Acharya, a Neighbourhood Manager. This group had been established to consider the recommendations of Cassam and McAndrew’s final report and monitor its implementation.
November 1993: Lyn Cusack left LBI while serving on the Member/Officer Implementation Group – who replaces her?
“My memory of Lyn Cusack is of her being very particular at meetings in her room in Highbury House that cups of tea were placed on mats on her highly polished table. I wish she had been as particular in listening to my evidence”.Liz Davies 2019
Assistant Director Social Services (Children & Families)/Neighbourhood Services Lyn Cusack negotiated a settlement from Islington Council to retire early for “personal reasons” after 26 years in Islington just as McAndrew moved onto his Missing Files report. This report would conclude that individual children’s care files had gone missing at Assistant Director level when being collated to share with police investigating Islington staff accused of abusing children in their care. Cusack instructed solicitor Louise Christian to ensure she left LBI with a good record. The council issued the following statement:
“Lyn Cusack, the assistant director of neighbourhood services, has decided to take early retirement for personal reasons after 26 years with Islington Council. The council has decided, with regret, to accept the decision and will continue its reorganisation plans for its childcare services as a matter of priority.”Payne S and Fairweather E (1993) Islington’s head of child homes resigns. Evening Standard. 15th November
In 1995, the Evening Standard reported that children’s individual care files had gone missing when sent to Cusack in preparation for responses to investigating police requests for abuse allegations against two Islington residential staff.
Hannah Miller was announced as the new Director of Social Services. Miller was Head of Inspection & Registration in Croydon – the department to which Islington council had sub-contracted inspection services from when the children’s homes were condemned by reports in the Evening Standard the year before and it was discovered Islington Council was in breach of the Children’s Homes Regulations 1991 (see above Council Minutes, 22.2.93). Social Services chair Sandy Marks believed Miller’s previous involvement with inspecting the homes meant “she’ll be committed to working for us.” [Community Care (1993) Islington appoints chief officer]
December 1993: Evening Standard journalists submitted an 118 page dossier to Social Services Inspectorate having been assured they could do so under ‘legal privilege’.
Hannah Miller joined as Director of Social Services and Deputy Director of Neighbourhood Services – reported to Martin Higgins Community Care (1994) Miller moves in to help lift morale.
In January 1994, Herbert Laming Chief Inspector SSI states ‘further re-examination of these matters would not be fruitful’
19 January 1994: The Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) wrote to Islington Council Chief Executive Eric Dear to state that the SSI inspection would conclude that “further re-examination of [network abuse in Irene Watson Neighbourhood Office] would not be fruitful”.
In February 1994, Dr Morris Fraser’s links to a Cornwall boating charity providing holidays for children are revealed Press Association (1994) Parents call for public inquiry over sex abuse skipper. 21st February
Social Services team investigating Righton’s network calls for national unit to investigate all allegations of abuse by children’s care staff
The month after Laming ruled out any further investigation into networks of abuse in Islington, Hereford and Worcester Social Services Department informed SSI that Peter Righton was suspected to be at the centre of a major national network of abusers.
“At least a dozen other Social Services departments with links to [Peter Righton] have been warned”Daily Mail (1994)An abuse of trust 24th February
Was Islington Council Social Services Department one of those Tombs and his team had got in touch with?
3rd March 1994: In June 1993, Social Services Inspectorate had received information from David Tombs, the Social Services Director of Hereford & Worcester on the extent and nature of Peter Righton’s network. Ten months later, their report on Righton’s network was reported in the Daily Mail.
Did SSI make the information concerning Righton’s links to Islington available to the Cassam and McAndrew Part II Report (published July 1993) or at the very least feed into the White Inquiry which commenced in (November 1994) reporting in late May 1995?
Explicit in its concern that abusers had infiltrated the residential childcare system, the Tombs’ report called for a national unit to be set up to investigate allegations against all care staff, usually dealt with by local authorities. Tombs’ team were clear that Righton was at the centre of a major national network of abusers and that these networks were preying on children in care through gaining employment in residential childcare positions.
SSI was in receipt of Tunnard and McAndrew’s report of February 1993 describing Islington Council’s ‘Family Secret’ – that staff with outstanding allegations were allowed to move on without apprehension or investigation. Once identified as a member of PIE, Righton’s connections to Islington, should have been sifted through with a fine tooth comb; where he’d worked and when he had lectured to Islington social workers on what topics ; whether reporting to a Director who sat as a co-opted member of Islington’s Social Services Committees gave him any influence over residential care policy in Islington directly; or how sitting on a steering committees with the Islington Director of Social Services, John Rea Price, increased his influence. Did the White Inquiry speak to Ann Goldie, the former Islington social worker who described the social pressure she felt under as a lesbian to keep Righton’s secret when he’d boasted to her of his sexual preference for teenage boys in residential care?
FACT: No Islington inquiry, report or review has ever investigated how many Islington children were sent to either Richard Alston’s New Barns School in Gloucestershire, Nicholas Rabet’s The Stables in Sussex or The Islington-Suffolk Project or Jersey.
Emlyn Cassam and Brian McAndrew asked in March 1994 whether the failure of the police to substantiate allegations of organised abuse in the case of the Hot House and neighbouring convicted child abuser meant that the police might consider reviewing how effective the actions they took were. The White Inquiry doesn’t update or address the issue of whether police undertook a review or its conclusion. Morgan QC does not address the issue with Kate Hart.
FACT: In March 1994 Cassam & McAndrew suggested the police review the effectiveness of their investigation into Duff and the Hot House
The Department of Health Social Services Inspectorate had inspected Islington’s Social Services Complaints Procedure – one of the aspects Islington Council had failed to provide as required under statute. The progress reports from the Social Services Department on their implementation of the SSI recommendations were to be submitted to the Social Services Committee, chaired by Sandy Marks, until all recommendations had been met.
The day after Marks was re-elected as Chair of the Social Services Sub-Committee for the third consecutive year (her fifth year since 1982), it was reported that an Islington boy had been sent to New Barns school in Gloucestershire where PIE founder Peter Righton was Governor. He had for years described the regime at the school. Silence that cloaked child sex conspiracy, Evening Standard, 27.5.94, Eileen Fairweather & Payne
Who had signed off on this? Why were Islington children being sent to Gloucestershire? How many children were sent to New Barns school from Islington?
27th May 1994: Silence that cloaked child sex conspiracy (Evening Standard)
1 June 1994: BBC documentary by David Perrin revealed that Peter Righton was PIE Member #51 (The Guardian (1994) Shadow of the attic. 1st June). Anne Goldie, an Islington social worker appeared on the documentary and told of Righton’s confession to “sexual relations with eight or nine boys in residential care homes.”
How many of these boys were in Islington children’s homes? No-one has ever bothered to find out.
How was the news of this confession to an Islington social worker investigated within the inquiries Islington Council was running at the time?
July 1994: Lib Dems force a Division and Marks refuses to vote
The Council Meeting of 21 July 1994 was highly contentious with an urgent motion moved by LibDem Councillor Sarah Ludford (now in the House of Lords as Baroness Ludford), attempting to demand accountability from the new Social Services Committee, now known as the Neighbourhood Services & Social Services Committee with a serving Vice-Chair of Social Services as Sandy Marks. However, Joe Simpson was now the Chair of the this large overarching committee and had been since its creation in 1990.
At the full Council meeting the minutes of 21 July 1994 above show Cllr Sarah Ludford (LibDem) tried to move an urgent motion – the Council voted not to receive it – “A division was demanded” showing 12 For 30 Against 2 Abstentions. Council Leader Derek Sawyer proposed the motion be referred back to the Social Services Health Policy Sub-Committee (Chair: Sandy Marks) which it was. What was the urgent motion Ludford had proposed?
“As to the Margaret Hodge comment, you have taken this completely out of context. The reference was to questions regarding claims about an alleged[child] sex abuse ring. Whilst we cannot ever guarantee that did not happen, the evidence has been examined by ourselves, the Area Child Protection Committee, the police, the Independent Inquiries and the Department of Health’s Social Services Inspectorate — none of which have suggested there is substantive evidence to support the allegations.”Cllr Joe Simpson, Chair of the Neighbourhood Services Committee, Council Minutes, 21 July 1994
“Do you repudiate ex-leader Margaret Hodge’s assertion in October 1992 when she accused the Evening Standard of sensationalist gutter journalism, “that there was neither neglect nor incompetence” in Islington’s social services?Cllr Sarah Ludford to Cllr Joe Simpson, 21.7.94
Islington Gazette reported that the Council meeting was blocked from discussing the Social Services Inspectorate report. LibDem Councillors forced a division – and the Gazette reported that Marks failed to return to the Council chamber
“I was in a position to make a statement on the report. I told the chief whip he had a choice of whether I stayed outside and did not vote or returned to vote in favour of it being discussed. I think it would have been better to allow me to make a statement but perhaps the Council Chamber was not the place to discuss it.”Sandy Marks quoted in Kids’ homes report blocked, Islington Gazette, 28.7.94
Chief Whip, Councillor Stephen Twigg, was reported as defending Marks from being ‘bounced into a statement by the Liberal Democrats. They shouldn’t play party politics with something that is a serious issue.” Why was it so important to Twigg that Marks not make her statement to the Council Chamber?
August 1994: Cassam Report on 13 year old boy in care of Islington
Islington Social Services chairwoman Sandy Marks on the Emlyn Cassam report:
“The report doesn’t confirm suspicious but increases them. These allegations have been around for a long time. We are clear about the issues and are trying to make sustained changes.”Care Weekly (1994) Sandy Marks, Report leaked to paper reveals Islington chaos. 17th August
Cassam completed his report on the individual case of Child A (as described in the Evening Standard)
Cassam pointed clearly to a failure by the police to investigate the allegations of “Fat Alan/George”, an abuser who was procuring children from a specific Islington children’s home, including Child A who was a 13 year old boy. An agency worker at the home had reported their concerns to a Senior who had raised the concerns with Islington’s Child Protection Team, headed by Don McKay, a senior police officer married to Lyn Cusack.
“Cusack, married to a senior police officer formerly in charge of Islington child protection officers, resigned from the council last November in the wake of the Standard allegations. Throughout 1992, meetings were held to review the case of boy “A” and in August the council’s child protection co-ordinator Sara Noakes remarked that she would consider a joint meeting with police “when enough information has been gathered”.Evening Standard (1994) Children abused by pimps in Islington. 1st August
Finally police promised surveillance of suspects’ addresses but nothing happened.
“For six months staff in the neighbourhood services department believed that the police were pursuing enquires. They were not”.Cassam E (1994) Report on Child A. [Reference unclear and is not the same as in White Inquiry]
Pointedly Mr Cassam stated in his report:
“He adds that social services failure to chase up police “shows a surprising lack of urgency”. Instead memos were flying around requesting “a sharing of information” and a meeting was set up at which “nobody turned up or sent apologies – including the police”.”Cassam E (1994) Report on Child A [Reference unclear and is not the same as in White Inquiry]
8 September 1994: Peter Righton (68) is arrested in connection with serious sexual assaults in ‘the London area’. Scotland Yard seizes photos, correspondence and videos. (Daily Mail (1994) Police arrest child care chief. 9th September). Righton was arrested in Eye, Suffolk by the Obscene Publications Squad. (The Independent (1994) Lecturer held. 10th November.
Despite reported opposition from Chief of Social Services Hannah Miller, the Council was considering setting up childcare social workers in 12 teams rather than 6.
November 1994: Ian White announced as 13th Islington Inquiry lead
Islington Council ordered a 13th inquiry to be headed up by Ian White, Director of Social Services for Oxfordshire. Islington Gazette (1994) Childcare inquiry chief named. 10th November
John Bowis MP, junior minister at the Department of Health stated :
“Childcare services in Islington have given me grave cause for concern. I am aware that attempts are now being made to rectify the problems highlighted by the Social Services Inspectorate report earlier this year. I hope this inquiry will be able to look at the allegations of misconduct of staff employed by Islington and ensure that appropriate action has been taken. I still need to be satisfied that enough is being done by Islington to safeguard the welfare of their children.”Islington Gazette (1994) Childcare inquiry chief named. 10th November
Cassam’s 2 reports on individual children suppressed for 3 months until a few days before Christmas
An Islington Gazette reporter attended the meeting of a Case Review sub-committee but on the casting vote of the chairwoman Cllr Sandy Marks councillors voted to exclude him.
The Case Review Sub-Committee meeting was set to discuss two reports Emlyn Cassam had been commissioned to produce in February 1994 and completed almost three months earlier in September. The reports were an assessment of the Council’s response to two individual children Cassam named Child A and Child X. (NB: White Inquiry refers to Child Y and Child Z).
Cassam’s report on Child A concluded that the Council failed in its duty to protect child A adequately “in line with the area child protection committee’s policies and procedures.”
In the case of Child X, again child protection guidelines were not followed – specifically at 2 stages. Although Cassam stated that this failure did not mean that Child X had actually been abused, he had been placed in vulnerable situations and appropriate action was not taken to ensure his safety.
In using her Chair’s casting vote to eject the Gazette reports Cllr Marks insisted she had the children’s interests at heart:
“If we had allowed the press to stay the children’s identites might have become known. We have to protect them. It’s rubbish to suggest we are attempting a cover-up.”Islington Gazette (1994) Sorry we let the kids down. 29th December (Case Review Sub-Committee & Social Services Chair Sandy Marks)
Chief Social Services Officer Hannah Miller said:
“Islington Council accepts its past failings to adequately protect the two young people whose cases were independently reviewed by Emlyn Cassam. In fact we commissioned the report in February 1994 and we have sent them to the Department of Health with whom we are in close contact.”Islington Gazette (1994) Sorry we let the kids down. 29th December
Due to the timing of discussing the reports, delayed from September to a few days before Christmas, it was felt the Council was trying to control releasing the information.
Cllr Sarah Ludford: “It’s a cover-up. They want to prevent the people of Islington from knowing about the appalling blunders that were made by social services.”Islington Gazette (1994) Sorry we let the kids down. 29th December
16 January 1995: Liz Davies travelled to Speedwell House, Oxford to meet with Kate Hart and Ian White – an informal, off record interview at their request.
11 March – 5 April 1995: For just under 4 weeks until Good Friday the NSPCC ran a 24 hour hotline for Islington abuse survivors to call. (Community Care (1995) Islington tackles abuse 29th February.) London Regional Director NSPCC, Neil Hunt commented:
“If we don’t get anything, we will be much more confident it has been dealt with.”Community Care (1995) Islington tackles abuse. 29th February
In April 1995 Sandy Marks gave a temporary farewell speech to the Council Chamber before becoming Mayor in answer to a question asked by Councillor Pat Haynes. Report #17 covers the contents of this speech in more detail.
1995, Documentary on the Azimuth Trust explaining the extent of the organised abuse network
Former Islington Social Worker named on White Inquiry’s Appendix discovered working for Westminster Council
In August it was revealed that former Islington social worker Andrew Davis, 44, now Youth Justice Manager of Westminster Council had been named in the White Report. Sengupta K (1995) Trapped on tape: Amazing child sex admission by a top social worker (09.08.95) Today.
Westminster Council justified their decision not to fire him once they were aware of the allegations from Islington on the basis that he was now a middle manager “with other social workers between him and children.” See Report #6