One common practice at Lambeth council among its Labour councillors is: avoid answering the question if you can.
At last night’s meeting of Lambeth council’s cabinet those embarrassing questions / undesirable comments from the opposition were being avoided yet again.
Cllr Scott Ainslie (Green) said that “Shirley Oaks Survivors Association are not prepared to work with the Oxleas Mental Health Trust. “I don’t know why Oxleas are still the preferred supplier for mental health and it’s telling none of the survivors have gone to use that facility”
Responding, supreme leader Cllr Lib Peck emphatically denied that was the case. “I haven’t got the figures but it’s totally inaccurate to say that.” An officer said Oxleas Wood had roughly 200 people they saw or were in telephone contact with – people from America, Sweden and Australia as well as people they were in close contact with.
Cllr Peck said several seams of the scheme had strong independence.
But it was all the other questions and points which Cllr Ainslie raised that remained unanswered:
“I’m hearing reports of four individuals who have attempted to commit suicide and not getting the kind of counselling and support they need.” – No reply.
“On the Initial Redress payments out of less than 50 people only four have accepted which suggests to me that it’s not working. “There’s a disconnect with the people who are seeking to make these claims. “I’d like to flag that as a major concern.” – No reply.
On Mike Mansfield QC’s proposals: “I’m told the council had that sprung on them in Summer 2017 (at the full council meeting on July 19th – Ed.). “The Survivors group say this was not the case.” – No reply.
Following Cllr Ainslie’s comments cabinet members then asked a set of questions which the cynics / conspiracy theorists may think are cleared in advance to put Lambeth Labour in the best possible light.
Cllr Ed Davie asked: “How do you manage the allegations they might be making?”
He was told by an officer that Lambeth worked closely with their legal enquiry team who were preparing a response to ICSA (The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) “and sharing allegations with that team.”
The website Ask the Police says: “Whilst there is no legal requirement to report a crime, there is a moral duty on everyone of us to report to the police any crime or anything we suspect may be a crime.”
The question begs itself: If criminal allegations are being made, don’t Lambeth have a moral duty to report them?
The meeting also heard that while some data relating to the Shirley Oaks residential complex up to 1983 and South Vale (West Norwood) – no dates given – had been found but those with surnames beginning from T to Z hadn’t.
At the end of January last year Private Eye magazine reported (Stephenson’s rocket page 37, inauguration issue cover) that files relating to abuse in Lambeth-run children’s homes had been destroyed as recently as 2009. Let’s hope those are not the ones the council officers are looking for.