Safeguarding training requirement to be enforced as Lambeth respond to IICSA’s report

Following the independent inquiry into historic child sexual abuse in Lambeth, Councillors have to reviewed their approach to safeguarding in addition to creation of the redress scheme aiming to compensate victims.

The review of safeguarding has been encouraged by Green Councillor Scott Ainslie who stated that he felt ashamed to be a Lambeth councillor when learning of the ‘true scale of abuse in Lambeth children’s homes.’ At a council meeting in December he was quoted to have said, “I am determined that we compensate everyone we put in harm’s way and that we do everything to ensure it never happens again. Please launch a review of the redress scheme now to earn the trust of survivors.”

Councillors voted on three main issues, being mandatory training on safeguarding for all Councillors, the vetting of staff and the publishing of an action plan as requested by IICSA.

At the meeting it was stressed that the widespread failings of Lambeth could never be repeated. Councillor Holland (Labour) advised that the council had been “working extremely hard to make sure that [their] governance, systems, processes, training, culture and corporate learning deliver this commitment.”

Failings of the council included the vast number of allegations of abuse made against the main care homes, Shirley Oaks, South Vale and Angell Road. In its report IICSA advised that the true scale of the sexual abuse against children will never be known but that they were certain it would be significantly higher than what has been formally recorded. Lambeth Council has accepted these failings and in a statement offered “a sincere and heart-felt apology to all victims and survivors of abuse and neglect whilst in Lambeth’s care.”

It has been agreed that the current plan in place for safeguarding children/improving Lambeth’s systems is not sufficient and fails to address the racism many survivors experienced. The Inquiry’s report highlighted the fact that a disproportionate number of children the council failed to protect were from Black, Asian and minority-ethnic groups.

The Children’s Scrutiny Committee has now approved the Council’s response plan to IICSA’s report and Lambeth has assured that all three recommendations will be acted on. In its statement, Lambeth has also encouraged anyone who has been the victim of child sex abuse to come forward and speak with them.


Written by Nicole Clough at BLM (nicole.clough@blmlaw.com)

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