Action promised on report

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William Hague, the Secretary of State for Wales, will meet senior advisers over the next two days to decide what action to take over the handling of a report on abuse at children's homes in Clwyd.

Mr Hague said yesterday that some action would be taken by the Welsh Office this week as concern grows over the handling of a report by three child-care specialists who called for an urgent judicial and public inquiry. So far their advice has not been acted upon, and Clwyd county council, which commissioned the report, has decided not to publish it.

Mr Hague said yesterday: "I will be having meetings over the next couple of days. It is obviously an issue of concern to me."

The two key issues facing him are whether or not to publish the report of a two-year investigation into abuse at homes and whether to accept the advice that there should be an inquiry. Support for an inquiry has come from victims of abuse, former staff at the homes and opposition MPs in Wales.

There has been widespread pressure for the report itself to be published. In its 300 pages, John Jillings, former director of social services in Derbyshire, Jane Tunstill, professor of social work at Keele University, and child-care specialist Gerrilyn Smith made more than 50 recommendations. They conclude: "It is clear that in a significant number of cases the lives of young people who have been through the care system in Clwyd have been severely disrupted and disturbed ... We regard it as imperative that they are addressed in the full view of public scrutiny."

Mr Hague will also face a series of questions in the commons this week from Rhodri Morgan, MP for Cardiff West and Labour's spokesman on health in Wales. He wants full exposure of the abuse in Clwyd, which is thought to have involved as many as 200 children.

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