Breakdown between agencies allowed sex offender to re-offend

A “systemic breakdown” between North Lanarkshire
Council and other agencies allowed a convicted sex offender to
sexually abuse a two-year-old girl, two months after his release
from prison, writes Mithran Samuel.

That was the damning verdict of the Social Work Inspection
Agency on agencies’ handling of James Campbell, in a report
which calls for national protocols for sex offender management.

Campbell abducted and attempted to rape the toddler in July
2004, two months after leaving jail on an extended sentence for the
attempted rape of a 91-year-old woman.

Though it does not say Campbell would not have committed the
offence had agencies acted properly, it says they failed to
mitigate the risk he may re-offend.

For instance, despite requests from the prison and against
national guidelines on extended sentences, the council did not
allocate a supervising social worker to handle Campbell during his

The council’s social work and housing departments did not
adequately plan his accommodation, meaning Campbell was released
into a homeless hostel where no one knew he was a sex offender.

The report also finds there was no relationship between the
social work department and Campbell’s family, despite their
willingness to help him.

Council chief executive Gavin Whitefield said: “It
highlights weaknesses in systems and processes. The council has
invested substantial resources in providing what are usually high
standards of services. It is disappointing that in this case we
have not met those standards.”

The report is available from


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