Councillors demand inquiry into Cardiff’s social services department

Opposition councillors at Cardiff Council have called for an
independent public inquiry into the way the city’s social services
are run.

They are concerned about the treatment of whistleblowers and a
forthcoming joint review that is expected to be highly critical.
They claim that public money is being used to pay a private law
firm to fight staff who raise concerns about standards.

Last week senior social worker Neil White was sacked because he
allegedly refused to discipline a worker, Beverley Bush, who had
blown the whistle on abuse at Cardiff’s Hazelcroft residential home
for older people. His union, the British Union of Social Work
Employees (BUSWE), has written to every member of the council
protesting at his dismissal.

Earlier this year, the sacking of social worker Charles Faber
sparked a one-day strike. He had led the council’s emergency duty
team for 20 years and blew the whistle over his concerns about
services for children in the city.

Conservative group leader Gareth Neale claimed the bill for legal
services from a private law firm was now running into hundreds of
thousands of pounds and was a waste of public money: “When a firm
like that works on a case it costs around £250 per hour and
this has been going on for around 11 months. This is all about the
council denying that they are doing anything wrong.”

He said the council had already begun reorganising social services
in Cardiff in the light of the critical joint review report
expected shortly.

Neale added that he understood the review to be the most damning
social services report ever published in England and Wales.

A spokesman for the council declined to comment.

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