Myth of PC in Islington

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The Independent Online
From Councillor Joe Simpson

Sir: The state of Islington's children's homes in the late Eighties was a disgrace, and Islington Council must take the responsibility for the failure to rectify this earlier. However, before Margaret Hodge is assigned to history as the propagator of some PC thought police that refused to acknowledge anything but a misty view of life ("Stalinist reluctance to study the facts", 2 June), perhaps a few facts could be put on record.

The initial press reports concerned alleged paedophile rings. Far from these being ignored, Islington had been working closely with the Metropolitan Police to establish if they existed. The Met could find no criminal evidence - a fact acknowledge by Ian White in his report. As we know from other council investigations of this nature (Orkney, etc), the proponents of the conspiracy view can adopt extreme positions. Islington had been working closely with the Met, and we followed their advice.

Margaret was certainly not complacent about social services management. She held them to account - hence the departure of leading figures responsible for the management of the department well before we knew of any Evening Standard interest.

It was clear to us that there was a failure to ensure tight management. It was our failure to recognise sufficiently quickly how endemic that mismanagement had become. However, as the roll call of those who have departed reveals, far from acting with complacency the council pursued change with a vigour not reflected in the press coverage.

Yours faithfully,

JOE SIMPSON

Town Hall

Islington Council

London, N1

2 June

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