‘Do you know where your child is tonight?’

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I have borrowed the title of this post from a number of campaigns run by police and other agencies trying to either reduce anti-social behaviour or else protect children by getting parents to take more responsibility.

But what happens when the children are no longer with the parents? I’m thinking now of cases where the children are, supposedly, ‘in care’.

One case came to light recently of a child from Cardiff claiming to have been assaulted at a home to which he’d been sent in Swansea. The family took the case to local councillor and AM, Neil McEvoy, who sought answers . . . and, as usual, Cardiff’s Labour council turned it into a case against Neil McEvoy!

It says a lot about Wales and its political culture that, ‘I want a straight answer’ can be twisted into ‘intimidating behaviour’. But that’s where we are with the colonial management team we know as the Labour Party.

GRASSROOTS (CARDIFF) LTD

Registered as both a charity (1110186) and a company, this is a mechanism for Cardiff Labour Party to exert influence in the care sector. Described on the Charity Commission entry thus:

THE PROVISION OF A CITY CENTRE FACILITY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING SOCIO ECONOMIC DEPRIVATION WHO REQUIRE ASSISTANCE TO HELP AND EDUCATE THEM THROUGH LEISURE-TIME ACTIVITIES SO AS TO DEVELOP THEIR PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL CAPACITIES THAT THEY MAY GROW TO FULL MATURITY AS INDIVIDUALS AND MEMBERS OF SOCIETY AND THEIR CONDITIONS OF LIFE MAY BE IMPROVED.

The Charity Commission entry further informs us that, unsurprisingly, Grassroots (Cardiff) Ltd operates only in Cardiff. As it is both a company and a charity company directors serve as charity trustees

The group was launched in February 2004 and since then a number of Labour luminaries have served as directors, none more luminescent than Albert Huish, long-serving Cardiff councillor and Lord Mayor. Huish joined in April 2006, when he was 92. He died in 2009.

One who’s been with Grassroots since the start is Councillor Iona Gordon. Other Labour councillors have served as directors but Labour loyalties are not always easy to discern. Even so, it’s reasonable to view Grassroots as almost a department of Cardiff City Council.

And when you see names like Marco Antonio Gil-Cervantes and Siobhan Corria then you know you’re at the country crossroads where the third sector sold its soul to the Labour Party one dark night.

Someone else who was in at the start was Paul Anthony O’Donnell, stepping down as a director 28 February 2013, by which time he had branched out on his own.

PRIORITY CHILDCARE LTD

Though he was in business for himself when he joined Grassroots. One company was Paul O’Donnell and Associates Consultancy and Training Services Ltd, formed in December 2001 and dissolved 30 June 2015 with an outstanding debt with HSBC. Another O’Donnell company co-existing with Grassroots was Forward Approach Ltd, but I can find no information.

More recently, May 2016, to be exact, he launched Treharne Properties Ltd with his old mate Leonard Charles Drane, this company is filing as a dormant company. Drane was also a director in Paul O’Donnell and Associates, etc.

Of more importance to this article is the company called Priority Childcare Ltd. Here’s the website and here’s the Companies House entry. Priority Childcare was Incorporated 12 October 2009.

For the first few years it seemed to do very little, but when it moved its address from Treharris, just off the A470 south of Merthyr, to Llandarcy, on the Neath side of Swansea, things started to take off.

Going back to the website – where models portray Priority Childcare’s staff and the kids they look after! – we see a page marked ‘Our Homes’ with seven properties listed. Not entirely correct, for Priority Childcare owns more than the seven listed, but not in its own name.

Click to enlarge

For the properties are all owned – with outstanding loans from the Royal Bank of Scotland – by POLD Holdings Ltd. A name made up of the initials of Paul O’Donnell and Leonard Drane. This company was Incorporated 4 January 2010.

So we see that both Priority Childcare and POLD Holdings were formed when O’Donnell was still with Grassroots, and therefore well-connected with those in Cardiff who had responsibility for children and young people in need of care, counselling and accommodation.

Wasn’t that convenient, boys and girls, for someone about to embark on a spree of buying properties for that very purpose!

In fact, the first three properties were bought a couple of weeks before O’Donnell left Grassroots.

SWANSEA, MY SWANSEA!

Back in May a report in WalesOnline told of the sudden increase in the numbers of children’s homes in Swansea that the council seemed to know little about. (Or maybe it was that nobody wanted to talk about them.)

The article was headlined as if it would give the answer, but it didn’t. Click to enlarge

We can account for a number of those unexplained children’s homes with what we now know of Priority Childcare. For it’s pretty obvious that Priority Childcare and POLD Holdings are taking advantage of cheaper property further west to move kids out of Cardiff.

Given O’Donnell’s Grassroots link, and given its close links with City Hall, it’s reasonable to assume that the O’Donnell-Drane companies are working with the Labour-controlled council.

But why is Swansea council so passive and accommodating when Cardiff dumps its problems on them? Swansea council knows what’s happening, and where these kids are coming from. Is Swansea council now subservient to Cardiff council?

The people of Swansea are entitled to know.

And how long has it been going on? For the table above tells us that Priority Childcare bought its first properties in Swansea in 2013. Yet this Care Inspectorate document says that the first home was not registered until May 2018. Were they operating unregistered before that date?

Staying with the website, the panel below, from the home page, is fascinating, and worrying.

Click to enlarge

To begin with, yes, the website shows seven homes, but the Care Inspectorate document mentions ten. So I’m assuming that Clydwr House in Swansea and Ty Aelwyd in Treharris link with the later purchases shown in the table, leaving one of the Swansea properties still unregistered.

Though anyone who thinks that all the homes are in ‘rural or semi-rural locations’, as Priority Childcare claim, must have been born and raised in downtown Tokyo.

More worrying is the reference to ‘Southwest Children’s Residential Commissioning Framework’, which suggests that Priority Childcare is not just bringing kids from Cardiff to Swansea and neighbouring areas, but is also bringing them from south west England!

The Priority Childcare website really is a thing of wonder. For if we scroll down to the ‘Our Partners’ graphic at the bottom of each page labelled we see Swansea council listed . . . but not Cardiff council!

Yet this outfit is almost certainly contracted by Cardiff council to move kids out of the city to homes in cheaper property further west. And exposing this system is one reason that Neil McEvoy is being persecuted, again.

UPDATE: I am indebted to Stan of Neath for directing me to the National Review of Care Homes for Children in Wales 2018-2019, produced by Care Inspectorate Wales.

In the ‘Summary of Key Findings’ (page 8) we read: ‘Better local commissioning arrangement are required to ensure children’s needs are met as close to home as possible. We found a mismatch between the location of care homes for children in Wales and the placing authorities from which children originate.’

LABOUR PARTY ETHICS

For now we come to the case that sees Neil McEvoy before Cardiff council’s Standards and Ethics Committee this very day. Yes, that’s Labour councillors debating and judging on standards and ethics. I don’t know whether to laugh or to puke. (I might do both, but not at the same time.)

Not for the first time, Neil McEvoy has rendered Wales a service. For moving kids around in the way we’ve looked at makes it difficult to keep track of them and to monitor the care they’re getting. Worse, this difficulty might be what makes such a system attractive to unscrupulous operators and callous council officials.

It’s certainly an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. For not only is it happening within Wales, there’s also the cross-border dimension. For example, in Powys, all the children in private care homes come from outside the county, almost all of them from England.

Children in need need to be helped as near as possible to their homes and their families. We must stop licensing private care homes that see vulnerable children as money-spinners, with those providing these children operating on the principle ‘Out of sight, out of mind’.

♦ end ♦

 

61 thoughts on “‘Do you know where your child is tonight?’

  1. Wynne

    If abuse of the system is obvious to you Jac, it should also be obvious to regulators. When will they wake up to what is going on in Wales. The way Neil McEvoy is persecuted for rendering Wales a service is absolutely appalling. I hope Neil will be rewarded for his actions through the ballot box in due course.

    1. Maybe the bigger worry is that the Ombudsman says private homes need less strict regulatory systems than council-run homes. Which is bound to lead to the growth in public homes we already see and councils dumping kids wherever they can. Something we see all over Wales. This is a real can of worms.

  2. Dafis

    Planning permissions, grant aid and other state supported funding, political decisions taken by unappointed political “influencers”, …..and now children “in care” getting anything but care. No doubt there are more areas for concern but these suffice to show that the current regime’s default posture is one of complete indifference, a touch of superior arrogance ( who the fuck are you to challenge us ?), a suspicion of deviance and bags of scope for downright criminality. In a time of alleged scarce resources anyone making serious money, either 6 figure salaries or profits, should be subjected to closer scrutiny, especially if their business model is more about “custody” than “care” .

    It would appear that our legislators, regulators and law enforcement agencies are not showing any interest. Having an old Labour deadleg in charge of SWP doesn’t help although other parties appear to be just as keen to look the other way. Having a more independent Police Commissioner might cause some people to think more deeply before straying off the straight and narrow, otherwise you might as well dump the role.

    Is it time to don the old balaclavas, pop out to buy some tar and feathers, or should we go straight on to polish up the baseball bats, sharpen a few drill bits, and initiate a social justice programme ?

    1. I’m not sure yet of the remedy, but there’s no doubt that the system in Wales is broken. Which is almost inevitable when we have a system of limited devolution run by politicians fearful of making the system work in case it a) gives the natives ideas and b) doing things well offends their London masters. Which, if you think about it, is the exact opposite mindset to the SNP.

      1. Dafis

        Broken and extensively corrupted by various organisations who have a vested interest in keeping it that way. This highly deviant and eccentric model of enterprise built completely on exploitation ( topped up with importation) of various groups of disadvantaged and chronically sick people is no better than the modern slavery that all those virtue signalers ( quite rightly) rant on about. Yet the vultures that feed off children, mental health issues and other rehab needs are given free rein to reap as much as they can from their sick perverted harvest. This is grooming, exploitation and downright cruelty and it’s happening here in Wales not in the 3rd world, or Rotherham or Rochdale. It can’t be blamed on Asians, Muslims or any other ethnic or religious group as much of it is organised by white people who enjoy good relationships with politicians and financiers.

        1. Everything you say is true . . . and yet our ‘progressive’ politicians make a virtue out of exploiting vulnerable people.

          1. Dafis

            Makes one wonder how many of our virtuous politicians and other decision makers/influencers are themselves engaged in deviant activity and are abusing these kids or having other forms of perversion procured for them by the racketeers. After all leading U.K figures of recent decades were deviants whose kinky preferences were known to others like the Security Services, who in turn were quite happy to cover up in return for lax regulation/oversight of their own elastic definition of their brief.

  3. Richard Youle

    The WalesOnline article you say didn’t tally with the headline does actually say that lower property prices are attracting private care home providers to places like Swansea.
    It then quotes from a council report about some of the issues this situation has raised, and also refers to quotes about missing children and the like from a chief superintendent.
    So, in a nutshell, the article does answer the question.

    1. Does it explain that these children are being moved from Cardiff by Priority Childcare Ltd which has strong links with the Cardiff Labour Party and the council?

    2. Red Flag

      Richard Youle that lower property prices are attracting private care home providers to places like Swansea.

      This is also exactly the reason for the third sector HMOs that specialise in housing released offenders (especially sex offenders) and ‘rehabilitating’ druggies , alcohol and solvent abusers that have sprung up right across the North Wales coast, usually full of the dross and scum from the major English conhurbations of Murkeyside and Greater Gunchester.

      I don’t know if it’s still the case, but several years ago the local authority of Conwy (which includes Llandudno etc), had the highest per capita level of registered sex offenders of any local authority in the UK, mostly moved in and placed there with the conivance of Cardiff and the local authority who are paid a ‘bounty’. Even one of the Bulger killers, Jon Venables, was kept on Ynys Mon/Anglesey for a short while (until he was ‘outed’ following a fight at a chippy in Y Fali/Valley in which he used his identity to try and intimidate the local youths he was fighting with and his ‘minders’ waiting outside had to step in.)

  4. Anon.

    The Ombudsman service was aware of the failings of Swansea Council before the death of Aaron Gilbert, yet kept quiet and brushed off the complainant.

    The service is there to protect incompetent officers/officials and poor standards rather than provide a service to the public with the odd upholding of a complaint against poor public services spewed out as a smokescreen as if to say we are doing what we are paid to do, then back to normal of covering up.

    Where is the Childrens Commissioner in all of this, equally as inept and another service that knew about Swansea SS before a death occurred. That costs something like £1.5 million a year so a saving to be made by scrapping it.

    They say lessons are learned but they never are, always the dumb or deadbeat in class repeating the same failures again and again yet banding together whenever a diligent and effective politico or complainant comes along.

    I don’t think it matters which party they belong to, in Wales its evidently group think.

  5. Brychan

    In 2017, RCT council on behalf of ALL local authorities in Wales to provided a tender for….

    “The Task & Finish Group for Residential Care under the Ministerial Advisory Group for Improving Outcomes for Looked After Children wishes to appoint a partner to complete a discreet piece of work central to the Work Programme of the Task & Finish Group. The Project is being Managed via the Children’s Commissioning Consortium Cymru (known as 4C’s) who are hosted by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council”.

    It defined that …

    “The successful partner will be expected to build a profile of children’s residential care in Wales; mapping existing residential care services for children and young people provision in Wales. The report should include a profile of provider activity, a stock take of care setting capacity by provider, and the profile of that capacity by statement of purpose and by actual use. This will include the range of additional services available by provider profile, for example, onsite education services. This will exclude Secure residential provision, where a piece of specific work is underway.

    With the findings being…

    “include trend data of market growth and profile of services where available. This may include, for example, identifying trends in registration of settings that specialise in services for specific age ranges or more generalised services catering for a broad age range.”

    and

    “Drawing upon what we know about actual placements within the provision the report should analyse how the existing map of capacity matches (or mismatches) these children’s characteristics, needs and outcomes, as placement options.”

    https://www.sell2wales.gov.wales/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=NOV225360

    It stated that Report finalisation must be completed by 31st March 2018.

    What organisation was appointed for this?
    Were the results published?
    What were the conclusions?
    Is there are ‘lessons learnt’ by the minister as a result of this investigation?

    A key ‘statistic’ which will become evident is that each local authority is required under existing legislation to record any ‘looked after children’, according to the three categories..

    (a) Within county.
    (b) Out of county.
    (c) Outside of Wales.

    Suggest a FoI request.

    1. THIS COMMENT IS FROM BRYCHAN, WHO SENT IT BY E-MAIL AS HE’S ON THE ROAD TODAY

      The SOUTH AND MID WALES LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN RESIDENTIAL CARE FRAMEWORK is administered by RCT council on behalf of a number of local authorities.
      Here is the link to the contract awarded to Priority Childcare Limited, Len Drane. This was in 2012, when his company was a mere upstart.

      You will notice that some of the contract was also awarded to a number of England-based companies who had been in existence for some time, just waiting for local authority privatisation to kick in, in Wales. It appears Len of Treharris had insider knowledge that this lucrative offer was to be made, and established his shell company to tender.

      It includes all of the councils in South Wales as far as Carmarthenshire in the West, and South Powys in mid Wales. There is the notable exception of Neath Port Talbot.

      You will notice that not only has this contract allowed Len to establish a substantial portfolio of property across South Wales, including some country cottages in Carmarthenshire, but also that he extracts about £78k of personal income from Priority and £26k from the holding company each year in the form of director emoluments and shareholder dividends.

      It is a very lucrative ‘industry’, with an incentive to increase the number of inmates to garner extra profit. Paul and Len are a bit of a celebrity in the care home industry.

  6. anon

    Jac, When the abuse of children in Care Homes in Rotherham came to light, questions were asked about what the people in authority had done to stop it. The Chief Executive of the Local Authority, the Leader of the Council, and the The Police and Crime Commissioner all had to resign.

    How many children are now in Care Homes in Rotherham? Yes you guessed it…none. They have all been placed in homes in other ‘host’ authorities. Why?

    By coincidence and I’m sure not the motivation behind doing this is that the below comes into play

    1 If there is an allegation of child abuse it must be reported to the police in the ‘host’ authority area (because that is where the crime occurred)
    2 The police in the host area must inform the Social Services in the host area who are then responsible for implementing and managing the Safeguarding procedures.
    These multi agency procedures are labour intensive and costly (and quite rightly so). They involve investigation, interviews, evidence gathering, multi agency meetings etc, etc

    If it all goes wrong (as it did in Rotherham) it will be those in the host authority that will get it in the neck

    1. I understand what you’re saying.

      In the case of Priority Childcare the host authority was Swansea. But as the WalesOnline article made clear, Swansea council wasn’t always aware of these homes, and it also read as if the police were complaining about having to go chasing kids who’d absconded. This is a great system for the authority offloading these kids and for the private companies making money out of it, but it’s a bad system for the kids and the authority being dumped on.

      And it’s not confined to children’s homes. An article I wrote last year makes it clear that vulnerable adults are being brought into homes in Cwmtawe. The giveaway was that staff were told to stop speaking Welsh in front of the residents because the residents weren’t familiar with Welsh – in Upper Cwmtawe!

      The burden of health care and other expenses of course falls on the host authority/country.

      I can see that there will often be a necessity to remove children from abusive parents, or give them a fresh start away from the bad environment they previously knew. But this must not be done at the expense of, or without the knowledge of, the host authority.

      1. For those who might have missed the update, Stan of Neath directed me to this recent publication.

        Where we read in the Summary of Key Findings on page 8, ‘Better local commissioning arrangement are required to ensure children’s needs are met as close to home as possible. We found a mismatch between the location of care homes for children in Wales and the placing authorities from which children originate.’

        1. anon

          Who are the only beneficiaries of this practice? (there is a clue in the first paragraph of my post)

    2. Red Flag

      If it all goes wrong (as it did in Rotherham) it will be those in the host authority that will get it in the neck

      It went wrong in Rotherham and Oldham and Middleton and Rochdale and Halifax and all the other towns on the M62 ‘belt’ because the Police, the social services and the local authorities tried to cover it up on the grounds of ‘social cohesion’ and ‘lifestyle choice’ somehow conveniently overlooking the fact that sex below the age of consent is rape as well as paedophilia. Yet not one police officer, nor social worker, nor politician has ever ever face criminal charges for Conspiracy.

      I lived in Oldham and nearby Heywood a few years back and I can assure you this is still a major major issue with people at ground level and that they are still very angry. Some of the areas are now on their third and fourth ‘grooming gang’ since this started coming to light in 2008 and when parties make deputy leaders of councils they run, people who still associate with person convicted of sexual offences, committing armed robberies, drug dealing, aiding and abetting felons wanted for murder, then obviously parties in certain areas still haven’t learned their lesson.

      1. Brychan

        I think you’ll find that police officers can only act within the law, even if they are aware that their actions may not be in the best interests of the child. It is quite common for officers to have to take juveniles into temporary custody as a result of minor offences and standard practice is to return a child to the legal carer, directly in some cases due to the absence of, or geographically displaced, on-call social service provision. This problem is most common where the child is in ‘out-of-county’ residential provision. The ‘parent’ becomes the supplier of residential care.

        Arising from the issues that were experience in the “M62 belt’ and the recommendations from the enquiry, it was decided in Scotland to reform the law to ensure that any child who experiences such abuse is provided with remedy themselves. The issue was that often ‘complaints’ were handled by family courts in which the ‘parent’ was a residential care provider, effectively the child having been ‘snatched’ from the biological parent and the safeguarding role of the originating local authority dispensed with due to ‘out-of-county’ residential provision. They are unable to find remedy themselves due to ‘double jeopardy’ within the process.

        The law was changed in Scotland so the child, upon age of maturity, is able to take their own action against any abuse that they had experienced, removing the “it’s already been settled by the family court”, known as a ‘limitation’. The legislation from Scotland is here..

        https://www.gov.scot/publications/limitation-childhood-abuse-scotland-act-2017-mean-need-know-making/

        I am rather disappointed that (some) leading figures in Plaid Cymru seek to attack Neil McEvoy AM for exposing this problem, in his case championing the interests of the child, case of his own constituent. The SNP government in Scotland is more in-tune with Neil and I am told they are watching Wales with interest. While Helen Mary Jones AM (the unelected one who got her post as a result of displacing Plaid’s very own convicted paedophile) who appears to be more concerned with ridiculing other vulnerable citizens of Wales, and Llinos Price the self appointed amateur psychologist who craves the cash flow from interested parties, it is Neil McEvoy who’s the politician who’s prepared to stand up and expose what’s going on.

        We need to ask the question “what is in the best interest of the child” and politicians need to address this as paramount, over and above the profits of Labour Party privatisation of care provision, and the ‘cover-up’ of failure, the displacement of vulnerable children away from their home communities. It is not good enough to ‘hand-over’ the primacy of interest into the hands of a local authority whem they have already sought to ‘dispose’ of concerns why moving it ‘off their patch’ or to a ‘residential empire’ who’s main purpose is to build a profitable real-estate portfolio.

        To quote the person who has explained to me the issues, ‘ot’s a wee barrel o pish’.

        1. Red Flag

          So you are saying Brychan that a police Officer, knowing of child rape and paedophilia, knowing who the victims are and knowing who the perpetrators are is not allowed to act?

          Having asked a couple of mates who are serving Officers you are wrong. If they know, they will act unless ordered by higher ranks to drop it – which is what happened.

          1. Brychan

            It is the CPS who decided to prosecute a case, not the police, senior or otherwise.
            This is decided on the basis of the evidence.

            I’m saying that uniformed police officers often take/arrange ‘itinerant’ juveniles back to a residential care home. Often the same ones. Down to the custody suite knowing full well the background of the situation. They will no doubt get to ‘know’ such children. It will be done ‘knowing’ what goes on at the home. Action is mandated however, and involves a call to social services who take custody and usually repatriate the child to the legally registered carer.

            Police officers cannot ‘kidnap’ a child because they “know” there’s a lag in the lodgings.

            What they can do is attempt is to gather evidence to prove a case, but that depends on the social worker or responsible adult providing permission to interview. This is where the difficulty lies, especially if the social services department are the ones who put the child into danger in the first place. It’s called a cover-up.

            Note – A good option is for a ‘knowing’ officer to take to A&E for a check-up and obtain some medical evidence, then you have a lead to follow. Transform suspicions into evidence.

  7. Dafis

    This lost soul Aled ( the one with the dog ) seems to be utterly wayward because of abusive treatments in his early years, or has taken up abusing others as his channel for compensating for his evident character defects. Either way he needs to go to a quiet place and stop getting up people’s noses as he can’t even do a good job of that.

    1. Dai Protheroe

      Not sure if it’s abuse by others made him turn out that way or copious self-abuse. He’s in the running for one of Wales’ biggest internet wankers, that’s for sure.

      Seriously though, I personally think many of those who see him as cutting edge, outrageous and even funny, distance themselves the more they see of him. There’s still a few oddballs with deep-seated personal issues that join in on his Twitter tirades but they seem to be getting fewer. He’ll hang himself in the end.

  8. Wynne

    Just a note to advise you jac that, as from today, I have not been able to access your blog using Internet Explorer. However, I am able to access using Google chrome browser. Perhaps others are experiencing similar problem.

    1. Big Gee

      Wynne: just checked the site on Firefox, Chrome, Opera & Microsoft Edge browsers (Internet Explorer is an older version of Edge) and all seem to be working fine.

      I suggest you check your security settings/ filters on your IE browser at that end. I hope that helps.

      1. Wynne

        Internet Explorer browser appears to be working O K today. Whatever the issue was yesterday it appears to have resolved itself. Thanks for the advice Big Gee.

  9. ANON

    The questions have to be asked- where are the other Cardiff Councillors, AM’s and MP’s in all this? – sitting on their comfy asres and tut tutting or actually getting in there and finding out what is going on.

    It has more similarities with the Mid Staffs NHS than Rotherham and elsewhere as those who should be scrutinising such as the Ombudsman are actually aiding a cover up – allegedly and on the face of it – which is what happened in Mid Staffs and where Labour politicians did not understand what had been going on [too tied to the unions and doctors?]

    Has the social services scrutiny in Cardiff CC been asleep on the job?

    It is ironic that the Ombudsman can now use court documents in a complaint yet ran away in Swansea when the Council told him it was before the family court – no-one knew back then Swansea Fam Ct was in the pockets of the Council. Tragically this did not come out in the Aaron Gilbert case in time to prevent his demise.

    When it suits them the law can be applied as they want it to be applied.

    As Stalin would have said – – its not what the law says, its who says it is the law!!

    All I can say is best of luck to Neil McEvoy and the family and child he is helping. A beacon in the Bay.

    Makes you proud to be Welsh as Churchill l would have said.

  10. Taffyman27

    Jac

    Although the article makes grim reading, I am not sure there is much here which is either new or sadly unique to Wales.

    I have personal, and rather negative experiences of the childcare system, albeit some 40 plus years ago in the context or larger and more “institutional” children’s homes than those you generally see today.

    In my experience while there are individuals working in the care system who genuinely try their very best to look after children, who have by definition had a challenging start in life, the system as a whole does not really care for these children in the way a family, or even the wider community might.

    Kids in care are a problem which most local politicians of any party would rather forget about, moving children to distant locations and local third sector or even for profit care organisations having close links with local political heavyweights is nothing new, see Cyril Smith (pun intended).

    From personal experience trying to set up accommodation for those in care or about to leave care is challenging, you face strong local opposition from people who think either that children in care will bring anti social elements into the area, or that such an establishment will drive down local property prices,

    For me, joining the Army as soon as I could was my escape from a broken system and I have to thank the Army for giving me focus, discipline and sense of direction that the care system never did. However I recognize that this is not the answer for everyone. Nevertheless it is a sad reflection on our care system when I look around at the children I was in care with all those years ago, a significant proportion of whom are sadly either in prison, or dead, and most of whom have struggled to achieve anything approaching a normal stable life.

    1. Brychan

      You’re right about strong local opposition when they try to establish a residential care home for children and bring anti social elements into the area. I was speaking to someone who lives near Atlantic college. The community is plagued these kids who start riding their horses, playing loud Chopin on the piano, sailing at all hours of the day and speaking latin at bus stops. Should be banned, mun.

  11. Wrexhamian

    I feel it in my water that this latest attempt by the Welsh colonial establishment to shut Neil McEvoy up will backfire on them. Whether he is found, ahem, ‘guilty’ or otherwise, his stock will rise as a result. And a good thing for Cymru that will be. Child abuse is the one area that ordinary people will want investigating by whatever means necessary, and the Ombudsman has succeeded only in being seen to ally himself with the “Let’s hush it up” faction. Keep up the ‘intimidating’, Neil. Oh, and the ‘bullying’.

      1. Jonesy

        why is he so incoherent – i dont have a clue what he is going on about, could somebody sum up his story succinctly and clearly – what’s the point of making videos like this =- they should be short, clear , convey a message straight to the point

  12. Dafis

    Completely off topic but here we go – Headline elsewhere – “Welsh Labour should be independent says UK party leadership contender”(Clive Lewis).

    Big fuckin’ deal, eh ! Had the zany muppet said Wales should be independent then there might be reason to rejoice, but Welsh Labour !. Doesn’t he realise what a mess they are, a cluster of deviant, yet incompetent, gangsters. There again that may have dawned on him and he wants to cut them adrift before all the dirt gathered by this site and some others will be such a big pile that the avalanche could soil the English Labour crew when it happens. Here we are with a Labour government overseeing the kind of corrupt administration of public services that one would expect in a banana republic. Right now no one seems to be paying it any attention just the odd sly dig from Tories in Westminster but the day will come and perhaps that’s what is really behind Lewis’ declaration.

  13. D

    I see there is now some opposition demands being attended to in Cardiff following Neil and the independents – where has the opposition and “holding to account” been in the past. It may be a start to the ending of the cronyism and cover ups – lets hope so.

    And let’s see how much support Neil gets in the Assembly! If this was happening in Trumptown or ex colonial places Leanne & Co would be well up for it but its seems on home turf she just sticks to handing out food like a UN volunteer.

    What has UK foreign policy Iran, Vietnam arms control in Saudi and other progressive concerns have to do with the Assembly. No power of sanctions or withdrawing ambassadors etc. Why can’t they now be bellicose about this particular case or is it now tainted because McEvoy took the lead on it [leadership is maybe what fails us in Wales – I think it is perhaps seen or associated with intimidation and bullying?].

    Looks like one in the eye for the Ombudsman – if he says can’t investigate private companies doing public work [which I do not believe for one moment he can’t] he can refer it to OFSTED [or equivalent in Wales]. They investigated Baby P and other child centred scandals and are there for regulating child care homes and such. Or he could ensure investigation into how the tender contract failed to ensure self reporting by the Company/Agency of the problems Neil has highlighted or raised.

    Well done Neil McEvoy and the recorder [i think from memory it was the father as well?]. The family concerned must be very heartened to have such an AM or Councillor. Unfortunately many victims are not so lucky.

    1. Dai Protheroe

      Leanne has rather childishly changed her Twitter handle to “Bellicose” having been called it in the Sender this week. Good job no-one called her an arsehole then.

  14. Homer

    Do you know where your child is tonight

    I have read this article and found it quite interesting, but I feel that some elements are somewhat misleading.
    I refer to the paragraph below as one instance
    The table above tells us that Priority Childcare bought its first properties in Swansea in 2013. Yet this Care Inspectorate document says that the first home was not registered until May 2018. Were they operating unregistered before that date?
    The writer questions the registered status of Priority Childcare Ltd operations prior to May 2018, this is based on the fact that the properties it operates were not registered with Care Inspectorate Wales until May 2018.
    A quick look at the Care Inspectorate Wales website clarifies the position regarding registration

    Care Inspectorate Wales
    Regulations
    What a registered care provider must do by law to provide a care service in Wales.
    The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 came into force in April 2018.
    Which services does this affect?
    • Care home services – including those who provide care home services for children or adults
    • Domiciliary support services – a service that can provide care in your own home as well as general support
    • Residential family centres,
    • Secure accommodation services,
    • Fostering services,
    • Adoption services
    • Adult placement, and,
    • Advocacy services.
    If you are not registered and providing or planning to provide one of the services above you must register with us under the new law
    Having regard to the above information registration with the Care Inspectorate Wales was not required until the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 came into force in April 2018
    If you reviews the registration dates of the properties listed as being run by Priority Care ltd you will note that 3 were registered in May 2018 and the next 3 in June, and the other at later dates.
    Having regard to office lead time it seems that Priority Childcare Ltd complied with the requirements or the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

      1. Roger Francis

        I have no idea, this is not my field of expertise.
        My reply relates only to your comments in respect of Registration with the Care Inspectorate Wales, and the registration requirements of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2106

    1. Brychan

      Rely to question raised by Homer.

      They would have been covered by Part 6 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. This was a more “child centred” regulation with local authorities having the statutory duty. It also imposed a duty to all children within the system, including those originating from England, who were previously paid for by local authorities in England, or refused.

      https://www.legislation.gov.uk/anaw/2014/4/contents

      The Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 was a form of privatisation, in the case of children, making an all-Wales inspectorate, and putting the emphasis on the physical amenities which operates in the private sector, “homes”. Multi-site private concerns which cross county boundaries, as well as English children.

      The new regulation, being property centred rather than child centred allows local authorities in England to export ‘difficult’ children into to the Welsh provision.

      All children are ‘cared for’ but adults requiring care dealt with separately under different sections of the same legislation and the change explains the sudden explosion in provision of sick and elderly care homes for adults from England, the example in the Swansea valley, unbeknown to the council, but there are others in South West Wales.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51032061

      They have access to the NHS Wales, free at the point of need, even if it means cancelling treatment for Welsh people.

  15. Do you think “the Welsh Government is proudly a global, internationalist Welsh Government”?
    I do not think so myself because the Labour Party in Wales, who control the Wales Assembly Government, is riddled with cronyism and is funding the massive Welsh “Third Sector”, that is manned by their cronies, and directed by a plethora of costly Special Advisers. Below is a response to Questions – the response is made in a speech by Rebecca Evans – Labour AM for Gower.
    Do you think her comments are bordering on being delusional? I do !
    They should be concentrating on their responsibilities for the following issues in Wales – their actual duties are for – the Welsh National Health Service & Welsh Education & Welsh Education & Welsh Transport & Welsh Economy & Welsh Housing. Not a single one of their duties involves Foreign Affairs! Foreign Aid to the developing countries is a noble worthy issue – but it is a responsibility for the UK Westminster London based Government – it is not a devolved issue! Wales itself is, under Labour, is one of the poorest regions in all of Europe. Our Assembly should be striving to get more money for Wales itself and not shower our money onto their cronies here and then give the remaining loose change to developing countries.

    ******************************** >
    Quote below from Rebecca Evans AM Labour Gower 8-1-2020 :-

    “This Welsh Government is proudly a global, internationalist Welsh Government that takes its responsibilities to the planet and to others very seriously. We’re absolutely proud of the work that we’re doing through our Wales for Africa programme. I think that perhaps it might speak more easily to the Member’s set of values if I just make the point that, actually, it’s in our own best interests if countries overseas that are currently struggling are able to cope better in so many ways. Peace overseas is in our own best interests. Ensuring that overseas countries are able to make their contribution to the climate crisis is in our own best interests. So, I think that perhaps those narrow thoughts might help the Member understand how important our Wales for Africa programme is”.

    **************************************** .

    1. Dafis

      Delusional ? No doubt. Having watched the film clip of her delivering that pompous statement she should get an Oscar for insincerity. But there again there is a Cynulliad jammed full of other contenders all at the top of their game when it comes to spouting on matters beyond their remit.

  16. ANon.

    I see Mr McEvoy is getting the “bullyboy” headlines again. Could it be the birds are a twittering in the background and slanting the public relations.

    Are all these people sensitive snowflakes and butterflies that they cannot deal with assertive behaviour. if a child is being maltreated or abused and no-one doing anything then voices will be raised and demands that something be done. Aren’t staff trained to deal with volatile situations?

    This has all the hallmarks of the previous fit-up. Could we see a Labour party member come out and say they heard McEvoy say something which made them feel intimidated and run off with a complaint as before.

    Clearly trying to virtue signal that he has behavioural problems. I consider Jess Phillips far worse. Glad she is not in Wales. Why don’t the BBC report on the circumstances of the child/children? Does the ghost of Sir JS OBE walk the corridors there?

    The Ombudsman really is a tool for cover-ups – did he come from somewhere like the Mid Staffs NHS or from the bowels of the Family Courts?

    Maybe if this was an international issue of abuse in Africa the other Assembly AM’s would be all over it, local stuff don’t care, don’t want to know. Becoming increasingly irrelevant to people of Wales as an institution.

    1. Brychan

      Nick Bennett is evidently unfamiliar with his remit, and ignorant of the process. Yesterday he referred to ‘a pattern of behaviour’ in his representations. The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales should ensure his ponderings relate to the case in-hand, and not historical supposition. You have to judge and make findings on the evidence of the case, not personal opinions on prior unrelated matters.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-51092155

      If it were a criminal case, or an employment tribunal, these comments would be struck from the record and action taken as an attempt to unduly influence a jury or panel finding. The best example of this, and defines principle, is when someone tries to introduce a ‘pattern’ of previous sexual contact in a rape trial to suggest promiscuity. You cannot. A judgement has to be made on the facts in hand, not introduce a generalised smear.

      1. Dafis

        “a generalised smear.” – that’s a good succinct definition of the Ombudsman! Not the role, just the present incumbent. Absolute stain on public life and its conduct. Time to open up the stain remover.

        1. Brychan

          Nick Bennett has no specific qualification for the role he was appointed to. He is qualified at lower degree in economics and has a masters in politics. If he had a legal qualification or background I’m sure he’d be more adept. Ho doesn’t have any prior experience in a junior role of this sort to skill up by experience, either. He was of course a ‘Special Advisor’ (SPAD) to the Welsh Government in 2000, and then worked in “communications’ before spending 8 years in ‘community housing’. Essentially, he’s a slime on the greasy pole, and is on record has having a ‘shoe-in’ for the job as ombudsman by a former AM, by political favour.

          1. Dafis

            Brychan, Sir Idwal Pugh, a former Parliamentary Commissioner, graduated from Oxford in Classics( Mods and Greats ?) but went on to carve out an exemplary career with several notable findings against various arms of government. His core skill was an ability to organise and to identify competence, or lack thereof. Shame really that our current drip down the Bay doesn’t emulate any of Sir Idwal’s abilities.

        2. Brychan

          Just to clarify.

          There is an accusation on social media by Llinos Price that the police were called to Cardiff City Hall after a council panel ruled politician Neil McEvoy had bullied a care home worker. The suggestion is that Neil McEvoy was wanted by the police. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Police were called by the clerk who reported “angry scenes” due to the demonstration of the public outside the council meeting at the way their elected representative had been treated. There were concerns that a situation might escalate to pubic disorder, and this was the reason why police officers attended. At no point during this incident was Neil McEvoy regarded as a suspect.

            1. Dafis

              No hinges at all, just hanging loose and flapping which ever way the wind blows. Absolutely useless, no good for keeping stuff in or keeping it out.

    2. ANon

      Looks like M Drakeford FM just confirmed my last paragraph/comment – child refugees more relevant than welsh children ergo children in Africa [refugees] having problems/abuse and our AM’s would be all over it. Poor standards at Children’s centres in Wales = not relevant or otherwise do not want to know.

      Fortuitous timing or what – Manchester child protection failures come out in the press at the end of proceedings. Does that help the Ombudsman and his spokespeople that Mr McEvoy should not be looking into allegations of abuse?

      Looks like you have really found one of the species in Siobahn, next you will be intimidating her!

  17. Sadly for Wales the latest OSCAR nominations have just closed and not one of us have nominated the Wales Assembly Government or the Welsh Labour Party. Shame on us !

  18. When the new Unitary Authority Councils came in to being on April 1st 1996, the Councillors in my area undertook a lot of Training in Seminars run by very long experienced qualified professionals. It was deemed essential training for not only new Councillors, but for the long serving Councillors who may have been only “on the County” or only “on the District” before. This was done as their roles were expanding into new fields and responsibilities. We now see the Wales’ Ombudsman this week lecture Councillor Neil McEvoy AM with the words, as reported in the press, yesterday :- “The ombudsman suggested that Mr McEvoy had misunderstood the definition of a corporate parent, and in fact the term refers to the local authority and not elected councillors”.
    This was a very biased Ombudsman statement in an Inquiry that seeks to destroy and silence Neil McEvoy. I’d like to tell the Ombudsman here and now, that when the Unitary Authorities came into being in 1996, and the Councillors had Seminars to educate them of their roles it was clearly emphasised that in situations involving children going into Council care that the Councillors were effectively becoming “Corporate Parents”. Nothing has changed, so the Ombudsman in the Neil McEvoy Inquiry case clearly does not know the role and responsibilities of Councillors and that, that ill informed statement should be struck off the record.

  19. Patience

    This is so depressing. I spent some of my childhood in care. The care system seems immune to improvement in so many places. There is also a hidden abuse at the other end of life. My eyes have been opened in the past few months by the abuse of an elderly relative in a council run care home in Wales. The council goes out of its way to keep the family out of the loop. The council was party to appointing a solicitor hundreds of miles away in England to have total control over the elderly relative’s life, including finances. That gives the solicitor the opportunity to charge the elderly relative an exorbitant amount of money in travel expenses, for example. I have presented evidence to the police of systematic overcharging. An obnoxious police sgt told me that he had a brief telephone conversation with the solicitor, was convinced the solicitor is totally trustworthy, case closed! In one example, an action that should have cost £30, costed hundreds of pounds ie the elderly relative had that money taken. Just imagine if you ran out of milk at work and instead of going to a nearby shop, drove all the way to Shrewsbury to buy the milk, and then submitted a travel expenses claim to your boss. My elderly relative is being systematically plundered and nobody is willing to listen to me and several other relatives. This begs the question – how many elderly people are in the same situation? And why not appoint a local solicitor rather than someone hundreds of miles away?

      1. Patience

        On the record, I will say that I and others in the family are trying (and failing) to break through the mindset of Dyfed Powys Police and the Office of the Public Guardian that ‘solicitors do not lie, solicitors do not overcharge, now go away’. They are unwilling to give credibility to evidence of lies and overcharging. We have begun court action against the solicitor. If we win, we will name and shame the police sgt, the solicitor and several employees at OPG.
        In the meantime I endeavour to establish how many self funding residents of care homes in Wales have had all their finances handed over to solicitors in England with minimal consultation. In my relative’s case, a Deprivation of Liberty order is in place, so she has to stay in the council run care home – zero consultation with family – and social worker implemented Court of Protection order so that the solicitor in England was appointed. Family informed of court order three months after its implementation. All attempts to have a copy of documents eg assessment which led up to Deprivation of Liberty order denied. We have no idea how to challenge the order. The relative is paying in excess of £600 a week, is not allowed to leave the home, and is having her finances run down by a solicitor to whom she has no connection and the family are comprehensively shut out because we have no idea how to challenge decisions. My relative was advised years ago to draw up Power of Attorney but did not do so. So the council and solicitor can make decisions for her and are very adept at shutting out next of kin. They know the rules by which they operate and make decisions and shut us out because we lack such knowledge, hence the court action.

  20. Dr Gail John

    Wales needs a good clean-up! Thank you for publishing your research findings ‘Jac O the North’. Well done Neil McEvoy for speaking out against abuse in Swansea and making a stand for SEN kids who have no voice. Please find the link to my six year user-led research (2019) which initially focused on trying to find out why we have such high poverty stats in Swansea. It makes very interesting reading and supports Neil McEvoy’s stance. It also uncovers abuse, bullying and gaslighting towards foster-care experienced children in Swansea, and the professionals, like Neil McEvoy, who whistle-blow about it. Time for change Wales! http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/23538/

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