Pembrokeshire child safety: Ministerial Board says its work is complete

A panel of experts appointed to oversee Pembrokeshire council after serious problems in safeguarding children came to light has completed its work.

It followed allegations about children being locked in rooms and the hands of one being tied by a teacher.

The Pembrokeshire Ministerial Board was created by the Welsh government in autumn 2011 to support the authority.

The board will now report to Education Minister Leighton Andrews and make further recommendations.

An official report highlighting Pembrokeshire’s failings in safeguarding children led to a row between the council and the Welsh government.

Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) and Estyn carried out a joint inquiry following 25 cases of alleged professional abuse between 2007 and 2011.

Some cases concerned a primary school head teacher jailed in May 2009 for sex assaults against children.

A complaint in June 2009 concerned a child being locked in a so-called “time-out” room – which had no natural light or ventilation – at the pupil referral unit in Neyland.

The Welsh government set up the Pembrokeshire Ministerial Board in autumn 2011 after issuing the local authority with a final warning.

County councillors who attended a meeting before Easter were told that significant progress had been made over the past 18 months and that the prospects for continued change were good.

The board said there was still “a distance to travel and wished the council well on its journey”.

Pembrokeshire council leader Jamie Adams said he welcomed the board’s comments.

“I am obviously pleased that the board has recognised the hard work and the progress that has been achieved in the last 18 months,” he said.

“At the same time we are under no illusions that there is still much work to do. As I have told the board myself, this is a journey forwards, not backwards.”