Politicians demand inquiry over Wrexham’s child protection service

FRESH demands were made yesterday for an independent inquiry following allegations over the running of a child protection department.

MP Ian Lucas and AM Lesley Griffiths want an outside body to investigate Wrexham County Borough Council’s child protection service.

It follows allegations child protection referrals by North Wales Police were being systematically “binned”.

Their calls were backed by Wrexham Coun Malcolm King who fears tragedy may be on the cards if the local authority does not put its service in order.

The demand for an independent investigation follows on from Wrexham council Labour leader Neil Rogers who has written to the chief executive expressing his concerns.

Council bosses admitted a review had thrown up “certain irregularities”, but insisted procedures have been improved.

A senior member of Wrexham council’s staff is currently the subject of a disciplinary action.

But for Mr Lucas, Ms Griffiths and Coun King this does not go far enough.

Mr Lucas said: “For a number of months now I have had people from within the department telling me that there are serious problems.

“The response from the council has been completely inadequate, there are serious concerns over this, and there needs to be a full independent inquiry.”

Ms Griffiths added: “I have had representations from several people over a range of issues regarding this.

“There are serious concerns and we do now need to have an independent investigation.”

Yesterday a statement by Wrexham council’s Chief Executive Isobel Garner again said: “In Wrexham we take the issue of child protection extremely seriously.

“Joint member reviews of our service had already taken place prior to Coun Rogers’ letter being received.

“The result of that review identified certain irregularities, however, procedures have now been improved to ensure a high quality service is being provided.

“We can assure both Coun Rogers and members of the public that we will continue to put child protection high on our agenda.”

Coun King, who was a key figure in bringing the North Wales child abuse scandal out into the open, said: “The department is in a complete mess from top to bottom.

“The issue of domestic violence is being taken seriously by the police, but social services have not been able to cope with the increase in referrals.

“There needs to be a full independent inquiry before we have another tragedy on our hands.”