The director of social work in Edinburgh has resigned after an
inquiry report criticised his department’s handling of a child
Les McEwan resigned after press criticism and calls from city
councillors for him to step down. He had worked in Edinburgh’s
social work department for 36 years, but told Community Care he
felt “compelled” to resign.
The controversy centred on the case of 11-week-old Caleb Ness, who
was killed by his father two years ago. Alexander Ness was given an
11-year sentence after admitting culpable homicide.
An inquiry report commissioned by Edinburgh and Lothians child
protection committee on McEwan’s recommendation found that the boy
should never have been left in the care of his parents, and
described the agencies involved as “flawed at almost every level”.
Two Edinburgh social workers have been suspended and three taken
off child protection duties. Lothian and Borders police have
ordered a review of the council’s child protection services after
criticism in the inquiry report.
McEwan, who was just two years away from being able to retire, said
he had “searched his heart” and decided he was not prepared to let
front-line workers be “hung out to dry”.