Edinburgh Council failed miserably over complaints about social worker Sean Bell's abuse – John McLellan

Those councillors who read the full report by Suzanne Tanner QC into the circumstances behind the suspension, prosecution and subsequent death of senior social worker Sean Bell cannot fail to have been stunned by its findings.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 4:55 am
An organisation as large as Edinburgh Council will always have problems so the way they are dealt with is crucial (Picture: Neil Hanna)

Nor can anyone doubt the bravery of the survivors of his abuse for not only relating in harrowing detail to the inquiry what happened to them, but in waiving their anonymity so their story can be told fully and openly to ensure lessons are fully learnt.

Today there will be unanimity across all parties that the recommendations in Ms Tanner’s report should be implemented in their entirety, and the only questions are how and whether more needs to be done.

She is still conducting a separate review into the authority’s wider management culture and while it would be wrong to second-guess the outcome, the findings of the Bell report will inevitably be a crucial element.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Read More

Read More
Victims of social worker and serial abuser Sean Bell speak of 'ongoing nightmare...

The inadequacies of the council’s systems identified by Ms Tanner’s team do not automatically prove a wider cultural problem, but whatever these investigations conclude there is an opportunity for the authority to start afresh, to set new standards of accountability in which staff have trust, and so feel valued and secure.

In particular, the recommendation of an independent and impartial investigations unit to probe all allegations of abuse and harassment should be standard practice for all large organisations.

It’s impossible to employ thousands of people and for there never to be problems, but the benchmark is not their eradication but how they are handled. In the case of Sean Bell, Edinburgh Council failed that test miserably.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.