Social worker in race case claims Haringey ignored children at risk

A senior social worker has claimed Haringey Council left seven children at risk of abuse and then subjected her to racial dis­crimination and hostility for whistleblowing.

Nevres Kemal last week had her claims of racial discrimination and less favourable treatment as a result of whistleblowing accepted by an employment tribunal by default because the council failed to respond to them.

The tribunal, held at Watford, made no findings of fact in the case. This week, Haringey rejected Kemal’s claims and is planning to appeal against the decision.

In papers submitted to the tribunal, Kemal said that in October 2004 she reviewed the case of seven children, aged three to 16, where sexual or physical abuse was suspected. She said: “The files I was passed indicated that children had been sexually abused and left in the care of their abusers for nine months.”

Kemal said five of the children were not given a medical examination at the time of the initial allegations, which “lost potentially important forensic evidence”.

But she said, when she reported the claims, managers failed to act.

She then claimed the council suspended her after the parent of a teenage girl made an allegedly false complaint about her acting aggressively, and a final warning was placed on her record.

But Haringey Council this week described Kemal’s allegations as “spurious and incorrect”.

A spokesperson said that “detailed investigations” were carried out after Kemal made a number of allegations, which found that correct procedures were followed and children were not put at risk by any action or inaction by the council.

Explaining the council’s failure to respond to the allegations at the tribunal, they said the tribunal papers were never served on the council. “Haringey only became aware of the claim on 16 February 2007,” they added. “Having now seen this claim, we will robustly fight this case. It is very rare for a council to make such an unequivocal rebuttal of an employee’s claims.”

Kemal’s lawyers have written to health secretary Patricia Hewitt calling for a public inquiry.

Contact the author: Mithran Samuel

Further information
Mental Health


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.