Jersey: Bellwood to take unfair dismissal case to court

The UK social worker who was sacked after he blew the whistle on “abusive” child care practice in Jersey is taking his case to an employment tribunal next month.

Simon Bellwood is claiming he was unfairly dismissed from his job as centre manager at Greenfields secure unit on the island last year.

Bellwood raised concerns over a “Dickensian” system in the unit where children as young as 11 were routinely locked up for 24 hours or more in solitary confinement.

Major inquiry

The Jersey government claimed the so-called “Grand Prix” system was designed to create an orderly environment at the unit against a background of children absconding and harming each other, and was withdrawn in September 2006.

The case helped to spark a major inquiry into children’s services on the island which is due to conclude next month.

This week, Bellwood, whose case is backed by the British Association of Social Workers, told Community Care victory in the tribunal “would prove that not only did the States of Jersey dismiss me without good reason, but they also dismissed me in a manner which failed to follow due process and breached their own policies”.

He added: “On a personal level, this has been, and continues to be, one of the most difficult periods that my family and I have had to deal with. The whole ordeal has been consuming and overwhelming and we literally live this turmoil every day without having the ability to be able to shut off from it.”

Independent review

Bellwood, previously manager of a secure unit in Essex, went public with his concerns in Community Care last August and attracted widespread media coverage.

After his dismissal, Bellwood appealed to Jersey’s health and social services minister, Stuart Syvret, who was then also sacked after raising child protection concerns. Syvret claimed the system used at Greenfields amounted to “torture”.

The Jersey government appointed UK social work consultant Andrew Williamson to carry out an independent review of children’s services on the island.

Related article

Exclusive: UK social worker blows the whistle on Jersey

Contact the author

Maria Ahmed

This article appeared in the 14 February issue of the magazine under the headline “Bellwood to take unfair dismissal claim to tribunal”

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