Ian White and Kate Hart were the authors of the final Islington Inquiry in 1995. 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.
28th September 2017 Statement by Council Leader at Executive Meeting of Islington Council
‘In 1995 the Council received a report of an investigation by Ian White and Kate Hart –known as the White Report – into the council’s management of allegations of abuse of children in Islington’s care. This report is very much of its own time, and some of the language used is insensitive by today’s standards. The report was deeply critical of the council and led to profound changes in the council’s management of childrens’ services.‘ Richard Watts, Council Leader
‘At last they admit it: we were right’ Evening Standard, 23.05.1995
Ian White died in December 2017. His obituary can be read here.
‘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”.’
Media Context of White Inquiry
The Evening Standard published its first 8 page report on Islington’s children’s homes in October 1992 following a 3 month investigation. It was made possible by the courage of social work and police whistleblowers appalled by increasing evidence that Islington employed and protected network paedophiles in children’s homes. Police in 3 forces outside London – Sussex, West Mercia and Cambridgeshire investigating large scale child abuse networks, found they were closely linked to Islington but that the council repeatedly blocked their inquiries. Council leader Margaret Hodge resigned weeks after the Evening Standard exposed the scandal and Derek Sawyer took over as Council Leader.
The Department of Health responded to the Standard’s evidence by allowing Islington to investigate and exonerate itself. The Standard published another 60 damning investigations over the next 3 years. 13 critical Islington inquiries were undertaken, 5 were major. After the Standard submitted a 113 page dossier of evidence to the Department of Health it commissioned the White Inquiry – the only one not to be controlled by Islington Council.
The White Inquiry confirmed almost all the Standard’s allegations and named 26 staff in a confidential annexe whom Islington had allowed to leave the council’s employment without investigation, despite serious allegations of misconduct. It is not known how many, if any, of these staff were subsequently barred from practicing social work. Shortly after the White Inquiry one offender was investigated by police but fled Britain before he was arrested.
Ian White did not interview any of the professionals or politicians implicated in the scandal because he had no power to order anyone to give evidence. Neither did he speak with their professional bodies with regard to disciplinary action. Most went on to lead children’s services in other authorities at an even more senior level. Some still have these roles having never been held accountable.
John Rea-Price. the Director of Social Services between 1972 and 1992 was never interviewed about what he must surely know about this scandal. He left his job in Islington to head up the National Children’s Bureau and, right up to the present day, has never spoken about his lead role in Islington social services to an Inquiry or in public or provided any account of his interpretation of events. For someone who had a high status national profile this is beyond extraordinary.
Staff who tried to expose the abuse were intimidated, framed, sacked or demoted. Key evidence files were destroyed or lost. Victims were silenced by; extreme violence, being threatened with being sent to secure units, being locked up in the homes, split up from their siblings and some report being drugged and even hypnotised.
After the White Inquiry the journalists continued to report on many different aspects of the scandal up until the present day. The Internal staff bulletin below refers to the ‘ bad publicity’ and the White Inquiry to ‘draw a line under the past.’
24.7.95 Case Review Sub-Committee and Action Plan
Inquiries which informed White Inquiry
1993: Mike Betts (Islington social work manager) report on the state of the children’s homes
‘Islington: The missing evidence’ Evening Standard, 19th February 1993
‘Child home inspector is demoted’ Evening Standard, 11th March 1993