Victims of abuse in Lambeth council children’s homes wrecked Lambeth’s annual Mayor-making last night.
Scores of people from Shirley Oaks Survivors Association turned up to peacefully protest outside Lambeth town hall. Among the printed posters on placards was one saying: “Lib Peck changing compensation rules again and again.”
A SOSA spokeswoman told News From Crystal Palace outside the town hall: “This has been called by the SOSA members in disgust at the way the redress (compensation) scheme is being operated.”
Inside Lambeth town hall last night newly-elected Mayor Cllr Christopher Wellbelove was forced to abandon the council’s meeting – after publicly promising protesters in the public gallery that he would hold a separate meeting with them.
There were angry shouts of “We’re not interested in the Mayor – we want to talk about Shirley Oaks”, “Where’s my sister – why did she die?” and chants of “Lib Peck out” – but there was no item about Shirley Oaks or payment to survivors of child abuse on the agenda.
It is the SECOND occasion in six months that Lambeth council have met behind closed doors because of protests from SOSA.
The first was at Kennington Oval cricket ground last December when Mayor Cllr Marcia Cameron twice abandoned a council meeting after noisy protests from SOSA supporters. The council meeting continued behind closed doors – with News From Crystal Palace only being allowed in following objections from an opposition councillor.
Last night it was outgoing mayor Cllr Marcia Cameron who first abandoned the meeting – with Cllr Wellbelove, newly installed as Mayor, abandoning the meeting a second time with the rest of the meeting being held behind closed doors.
A senior female council officer had asked protesters to listen – as had other SOSA supporters in the town hall gallery – but to no avail.
This time a press officer came to take reporters from both News From Crystal Palace and Brixton Buzz into another behind closed doors meeting held in a room which usually hosts meetings of the council’s corporate committee.
As News From Crystal Palace reported in July Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs (Clapham Common) said: “Both sides have agreed there should be an independent panel. “Can you confirm that independent panel will deal with individual claims separate from Lambeth council?” he asked.
Cabinet member Cllr Donatus Anyanwu who chaired the section of the council meeting as Shirley Oaks Survivors Association representatives addressed the council, said there would be an independent panel – but no vote was taken and at the end the situation was unclear.
Reports elsewhere say that council leader Lib Peck promised full council in July that an independent panel would lead the inquiry and that five days later the Labour Leader rescinded this decision.
The official minutes of last July’s council meeting state:
Cllr Peck said she agreed that the panel needed to be independent. She understood that survivors would never be able to trust the council and recognised that the Scheme had to adhere to principles of natural justice and human rights. She was persuaded that an independent panel was a good idea and that this had been discussed between the council and SOSA. In addition, Cllr Peck stated her appreciation for everything SOSA had done to illuminate the failings of the council during a very dark period of its history.
Further reading (lots of it – Ed.):
SHIRLEY OAKS: CHILD ABUSE VICTIMS AT LAMBETH COUNCIL MEETING – Demands for independent panel to decide compensation July 21, 2017
SHIRLEY OAKS: VIEW FROM THE GALLERY July 21, 2017
SHIRLEY OAKS SURVIVORS “CLOSE TO PULLING OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH LAMBETH” October 17, 2017
COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PANEL TO DECIDE COMPENSATION LEVELS – SURVIVORS BACK MOVE “There can be no opportunity for those that were complicit then to be allowed now to now cover their tracks” – Scott Ainslie December 13, 2017
LAMBETH CHILD ABUSE: “EVERY TIER OF LAMBETH COUNCIL WAS AFFECTED BY PAEDOPHILE RING” – SURVIVOR December 19, 2017
SURVIVORS LETTER TO CABINET MEMBERS: “ONLY REASON THE COUNCIL WILL NOT HAVE AN INDEPENDENT PROCESS IS TO CONTINUE ITS COVER-UP” December 19, 2017
“YOU WOULDN’T WANT IT IF YOU WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE – YOU WOULD WANT TO KNOW WHAT FILES ARE HELD” – Barrister Michael Mansfield tells cabinet December 19, 2017
CABINET MEETING: VIEW FROM THE GALLERY December 19, 2017
…AND LAMBETH COUNCIL’S HIGHLY SANITISED VERSION OF LAST NIGHT. DISSENT? WHAT DISSENT???!!! December 19, 2017
“TENS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS” TO BE PAID OUT BY LAMBETH OVER CHILD ABUSE – “It is now clear that all Shirley Oaks residents were put in harms way” says council leader. December 16, 2016
“Lambeth Council without Chief Exec after Leader Lib Peck reverses decision for independent panel for Shirley Oaks sex abuse victims” Story by Jason Cobb. Brixton Buzz news website AUGUST 28, 2017.
LAMBETH BAN SHIRLEY OAKS ABUSE CAMPAIGNER April 19, 2018