Thurrock whistleblowing: Report finds claims 'unsubstantiated'

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image captionThurrock Council said whistleblowing allegations were found to be "unsubstantiated"

Whistleblowing claims a council's children's services department covered up failings over the death of a toddler were "unsubstantiated", a report found.

Thurrock Council's children's services department was alleged to have hidden missed opportunities to prevent the one-year-old's death.

A report by a safeguarding barrister, commissioned by the council, found the claims were unfounded.

However, a serious case review has been launched into the death of the child.

The accusations were laid out in two letters to the council's chief executive Lyn Carpenter and said failings in the case had been "buried".

Thurrock Council's cabinet said: "The findings of the review into the whistleblowing letters stated clearly by the independent barrister are that the case specific allegations which she fully investigated were unsubstantiated."

'Unrestricted access'

Thurrock Council leader, Rob Gledhill, said: "The allegation was put to an outside barrister who was a specialist in investigating matters of child safety and child social care.

"They have had unrestricted access to everything, the file was locked down immediately so it could not be altered or tampered.

"The barrister could look at absolutely anything they wished, everything was reported to Ofsted who at the time were doing one of the their regular reviews.

"They were fully appraised at the time and they are quite happy that everything that could be done, has been done."

The children's services scrutiny committee chairman, John Kent, resigned his position in October over the handling of the investigation into the allegations saying his committee was being "ignored" by officers.

Ofsted found the children's services department required improvement in 2016 and a monitoring visit in September found there were some areas which needed further work.

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