Clwyd chief put on spot

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The Independent Online
A former director of social services in Clwyd - where more than 500 people have alleged they were abused at 24 children's homes and where six care workers have been convicted of abuse - has told the North Wales tribunal investigating the allegations that he was not aware of anything wrong.

Gledwyn Jones, who retired in 1991, was deputy director or director in Clwyd for an 18-year period covering the time when much of the alleged abuse is said to have taken place.

"Should the tribunal understand that during this period you never, if I can put it bluntly, had a hint of the sort of problems at residential homes that this tribunal has been hearing about in the last 10 months?" asked tribunal counsel Gerard Elias.

Mr Jones replied: `No. No allegation came to my personal notice to the extent that you are talking about ...

"As head of a department I would accept the responsibility, certainly. But that is because one believed very strongly that the staff under one were carrying out their duties ... I was devastated when I heard about this."

The tribunal has heard that between 1974 and last year there were 12 internal inquires into children in care in Clwyd, but only six were presented to the social services committee, and only two were given in full. Asked about one of the reports, made in 1988, he admitted it was highly critical, but said he had regarded it as an internal report.

Mr Elias went on: "The report indicates that your stewardship had brought us in 1988 to a point where the whole management structure, style, philosophy and delivery of the service, was, without mincing words, hopeless. If this were an end-of-term report on you and your stewardship of residential care, it would be a nought out of ten report."