The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry on Wednesday (8 June) heard from two former staff members about their experiences of Jersey’s care system.
Witness 335, Mr ‘V', joined Heathfield residential care home in 1987 and became a Senior Child Care Officer whilst working at Home. Counsel to the Inquiry, Patrick Sadd asked him about allegations of sexual abuse made by former Heathfields residents. Mr V responded to each of them, spoke about being suspended whilst the allegations were investigated by police and then being reinstated after it was decided that there were no grounds for prosecution. He left Jersey a few months later.
Mr Sadd also took the second witness, Mr Simon Bellwood, through his evidence.
Mr Bellwood began by describing his experience as a social worker dealing with children with challenging behaviour in England and Wales. In 2004 he became the Operational Manager at a secure children’s home in Essex and explained that the concept was similar to Greenfields.
On the basis of this experience he applied for a managerial post at Greenfields in 2006 and spent six weeks there before moving across to the new building. Mr Bellwood described some of the changes he thought were needed to bring Greenfields up to UK standards. He also spoke about how the children were managed, staff dynamics and training, Jersey’s political structure, scrutiny, governance and how complaints were dealt with.
Mr Bellwood recounted how the relationship with his superiors deteriorated and he was subsequently told he had failed his probationary period. He said various internal investigations resulted from him having raised his concerns but questioned their process and disputed their findings. He said that there was a need for external scrutiny in order for Jersey to move forward and make the changes that were needed.
Full transcripts and supporting documents will be available in due course.
Public hearings resume 1000 on Thursday 10 May. See the Timetable for details.