The Jersey health and social services minister who helped to spark a UK-led inquiry into children’s services on the island has been sacked.
Stuart Syvret, who has been a member of the island’s parliament for 17 years, was forced out when 35 state members of the Jersey assembly voted to dismiss him last week, with just 15 backing him. He was officially sacked over allegations concerning his behaviour towards social services staff, ministers and civil servants.
But Syvret claimed he had been “sacked for whistleblowing” and accused state members of “whitewashing” his concerns over children’s services, including a former practice of holding children as young as 11 in solitary confinement for 24 hours.
Last month, UK social worker Simon Bellwood claimed he was sacked from his job as centre manager at Greenfields secure unit on Jersey after blowing the whistle on the practice.
Syvret, who will now sit on the backbenches of Jersey’s parliament, told Community Care he had been dismissed because he was “turning over too many stones” about failings in children’s services on the island. He said that since Community Care reported Bellwood’s case last month, people who had been in the care system on the island had contacted him about their experiences.
“Simon and I sacrificed our jobs but it was worthwhile because now hopefully the system will get fixed,” Syvret said.
Last month, the Jersey government invited UK social work expert Andrew Williamson to conduct an inquiry into children’s services. Before he was sacked, Syvret also invited the Howard League for Penal Reform to investigate youth custody and appointed June Thoburn, emeritus professor of social work at East Anglia University, to become the new chair of Jersey’s child protection committee.
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