Jersey: Bellwood slams chief minister’s ‘scapegoating’ attempt

The UK social worker sacked last year from a Jersey secure unit for children has accused the island’s chief minister of attempting to use him as a “scapegoat”.

Simon Bellwood (pictured right) settled his employment tribunal last month and an independent inquiry into his dismissal was promised .

But Jersey’s chief minister Frank Walker told the island’s parliament this month that there were “good reasons” for Bellwood’s sacking. Walker said Bellwood would not be reinstated unless the inquiry into his dismissal “clearly and strongly supported [Bellwood’s] view that he was wrongfully dismissed”. He added: “I very much doubt that will be the outcome. But of course it is a fully independent inquiry and we will have to await its conclusion.”

17 April 08 issueBellwood hit back at Walker for “pre-empting” the inquiry into his dismissal.

“This is a PR exercise by the States of Jersey to scapegoat and silence me and absolve themselves of blame,” he told Community Care. Bellwood said he had “every faith” in the inquiry chair, emeritus professor of law at Surrey university Robert Upex.

Former health and social services minister Stuart Syvret said the case against Bellwood was “nonsense”.

Bellwood began work at the Greenfields unit in August 2006 and was dismissed in May the following year. He had criticised policies including a system of putting children in solitary confinement at the unit. Bellwood also complained that Joe Kennedy, his line manager, had bullied and harassed him, the tribunal heard last month.

Further information

Full coverage on child protection issues in Jersey, including the Haut de la Garenne abuse investigation

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Maria Ahmed

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