Bower and Coughlan give evidence in historic misconduct case

Senior social care professionals today gave evidence against a social worker facing allegations that he carried out inappropriate physical examinations of children dating back to 1974.

Care Quality Commission chief executive Cynthia Bower and former Association of Directors of Children’s Services joint president John Coughlan were among those to give evidence against Wladyslaw Piotr Kiczma, at a General Social Care Council hearing yesterday.

Kiczma, 65, is charged with misconduct for allegedly examining children’s genitalia while in charge at the Stuart’s Road children’s home in Birmingham between 1974 and 1986.

Bower appointed to investigate complaint

Bower was a divisional manager of a children’s services team at Birmingham Council when she was appointed, alongside others, to look into a complaint made by one of the children, known as E.

She told the GSCC hearing in London there would have been no reason for Kiczma, who is now retired, to examine children’s genitals as part of a Free From Infection (FFI) check. It is alleged that Kiczma did this to children, some of them repeatedly.

Examinations were standard practice

FFI checks were standard practice at the time, designed to ensure that children arriving in care homes did not have infections such as scabies, which could be passed on to other children.

Kiczma, who was allowed to carry out the checks because he was a qualified nurse, did not appear at the hearing because of ill health, nor did he send a legal representative. But in a written statement he said FFI checks required him to examine children “top to toe” and on very rare occasions he would need to examine genitals.

He added that his FFIs had been popular because they were so thorough.

1990 investigation

In 1990 an investigation was launched into Kiczma after E came forward but it found no evidence of “salacious intent” and he received a final written warning.

In his opening submissions for the General Social Care Council, counsel Neil Grant said the five children in question had been “universally shocked, embarrassed and upset, some to a profound degree” by what had happened to them.

Bower said Child E had gone on to become a male prostitute. He later contracted HIV and died.

John Coughlan’s role

Coughlan, director of children’s services at Hampshire Council, who was then a team manager at Birmingham Council, had interviewed E as part of the investigation.

He said Child E told him he had been subjected to FFIs when he was off school because of asthma and had felt “singled out” by Kiczma.

Coughlan said there was “no reason whatsoever” why Kiczma would have needed to examine the children in such a way, adding that telling the children that Kiczma would remain in post was “one of the most difficult things I have had to do in my career to date”.

The hearing continues.

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