Social Work Services Inspectorate (Delayed Report)

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 22nd January 2004.

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Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party 2:30 pm, 22nd January 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what concerns it has regarding delay in the publication of the social work services inspectorate's report into the Miss X case in light of the Deputy Minister for Education and Young People's advice that the report would be available in autumn last year. (S2O-1129)

Photo of Peter Peacock Peter Peacock Labour

No formal timescale for publication has been set. I expect to publish the report as soon as possible after its receipt.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

That answer conflicts slightly with an answer that I have had previously, but I will say no more about that. We have already dealt with it.

The minister may be aware that the abuse of Miss X first came to light two years ago. This will be the fourth in a line of reports. We still do not have it, although Scottish Borders Council is well aware of its contents. Against that background, does the minister share my concern about the recent award of early-retirement packages to senior members of that council's social work department, some of whom were and are deeply implicated in the case? Does he agree that no one involved should have been allowed to do any deals until publication?

Photo of Peter Peacock Peter Peacock Labour

The personnel responsibilities of the local council are for the local council. It has to make its own policies and its own decisions, including those relating to individuals, as it sees fit locally. I know that Christine Grahame has found the Miss X case a rich source of publicity over recent months and I am sure that the press statement that will follow the present exchange is already on its way to the papers. The key point is that the Miss X case is a complex and extremely serious case, which we are having independently assessed. I will not put pressure on the inspectorate to cut corners—even if Christine Grahame would.