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Islington Survivors Network grill council leader at Question Time event

PUBLISHED: 17:41 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 07:20 04 October 2018

Cllr Richard Watts takes questions from the Islington Survivors Network at Leader's Question Time. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Cllr Richard Watts takes questions from the Islington Survivors Network at Leader's Question Time. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Archant

Social workers who witnessed abuse at Islington children’s homes will face no recriminations for speaking out, the council chief vowed at a tense meeting last night.

Members of the Islington Survivors Network (ISN) scrutinised Cllr Richard Watts at the Leader’s Question Time event, in the Cally’s Goodinge Community Centre.

Cllr Watts took four questions from survivors, after reiterating his apology for the “horrific” safeguarding failures made by previous administrations.

The network asked: “Has the council contacted all current staff who worked in Islington social services, prior to 1995, to support them in coming forward and assisting ISN without fear?”

The Islington boss replied: “We don’t have a complete list of staff who worked for us prior to 1995 but we will make efforts.

“Former staff are encouraged to contact police – there will be absolutely no recrimination.”

Survivors then asked whether Islington will continue to fund its “excellent trauma service” for survivors.

Cllr Watts committed to a continuation if the scheme, which is provided by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: “I’m really pleased it’s valuable and we will continue to fund it.”

So far Islington Council has paid survivors £2.1 million in compensation.

In 2017 a Gazette investigation exposed alleged links between former mayor of Islington Sandy Marks and pro-paedophile campaign group Fallen Angels, which argued sex with children should be legalised.

An “independent review” was launched this year to examine what impact, if any, it had on the way Ms Marks chaired Islington’s social services committee from 1991 to 1995.

Her chairship coincided with the multiple investigations by Islington into the child abuse scandal, culminating in the government’s much-maligned White Report in 1995.

The results are due to be made public within the next fortnight.

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