Social services admits handling of Huntley was “totally inadequate”

A senior social services manager has described his
department’s handling of referrals about a 15-year-old
girl’s relationship with Ian Huntley as “totally
inadequate in every sense”, writes Sally

Martin Eaden, deputy director of child care at North East
Lincolnshire social services, told the Bichard Inquiry into how
Huntley got a job as a school caretaker that no action had been
taken concerning the welfare of a girl named ‘CD’.

She was the second of four girls to come to the attention of the
department over a nine-month period between 1995 and 1996.

Huntley’s father had contacted social services in February
1996 to inform them that CD was living with him and his son, but he
would be going away to work in a few weeks and the girl would be
left alone with Huntley.

But the case was not allocated until 5 March and two days later,
the day before Huntley’s father was due to leave, Huntley contacted
social services to say that he did not want the responsibility for
the girl and there were “moral” concerns about her
staying with him.

Senior child protection social worker Phil Watters, who also
gave evidence, admitted that he had not made the link between three
cases he was involved in where Huntley was known to be having a
sexual relationship with underage girls, despite the fact two of
them were dealt with just days apart.

Watters said: “I am surprised that it appears I did not
make a link because they happened in such a short period of time. I
would have expected I would have done.”

The inquiry heard that the social services database that
contained referrals could not be searched for names of alleged
abusers only service users so there was no way of keeping a record
on Huntley.

But when questioned by inquiry chairperson Sir Michael Bichard,
Eaden said he believed that if the right judgments had been made by
social workers and the police database had been more effective, all
cases would have been linked without the need for a new IT

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.