Inquiry into child abuse ex Pembrokeshire youth worker to start

Image source, Dyfed-Powys Police
Image caption,
Michael "Mik" Smith was jailed for six years in 2014 after being convicted of child sexual offences

An investigation into how an ex youth worker jailed for child sex offences almost became a foster carer is due to start after almost a year of delays.

Ex youth worker Michael 'Mik' Smith was jailed in 2014 for sexual offences against children.

He was almost approved to become a foster carer by Pembrokeshire council despite concerns about his conduct.

The council said an independent chairman would be appointed in June.

A cabinet inquiry into the council's dealings with Smith was due to begin in June 2017, but it has not yet begun after attempts to start it failed due to issues forming a task and finish group.

The authority said it had been a "difficult matter" and a meeting will take place on 4 June with an independent chairman due to be appointed.

Smith, from Haverfordwest, was employed as a youth worker for the council between 2001-2012 and was dismissed for gross misconduct.

He was jailed for six years in 2014 after admitting sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13, inciting the child to engage in sexual activity and taking indecent photographs of the child.

He also admitted possessing 1,136 indecent images of children.

But a report, published in 2015, showed that in 2010 Smith was almost approved to become a foster carer after his line manager failed to highlight concerns relating to his employment.

This was despite him being disciplined for inappropriate behaviour with children, and the report said that "only luck" had prevented him from fostering.