Edinburgh social care scandal is far from over as whistleblowers petition for inquiry – John McLellan

The Edinburgh social care scandal is set to take a new twist, with the group representing whistleblowers organising a petition calling for an inquiry.

Questions are being raised about Edinburgh Council's compensation scheme for victims of senior social worker Sean Bell (Picture: Press Association)
Questions are being raised about Edinburgh Council's compensation scheme for victims of senior social worker Sean Bell (Picture: Press Association)

How successful it will be obviously remains to be seen, but there is no doubt there are still many unanswered questions left by last year’s reports from the team led by Susanne Tanner KC.

The allegations of a whitewash won’t go away and the whistle-blowers believe proper justice can only be done if matters are taken out of Edinburgh Council’s hands.

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There has never been a proper debate in the Scottish Parliament and if the petition achieves at least that, it will have been worthwhile.

However, the repercussions of what was uncovered after senior social worker Sean Bell’s death in 2020 are still being felt and there could yet be more information coming to light in the near future, with or without a public inquiry, which could blow up the issue once again.

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At the same time, the credibility of the council’s compensation scheme for Bell’s victims is being questioned because the qualification has been so narrowly set that only those “directly” affected, presumably actual victims of sexual abuse, will be eligible.

As a result, I understand at least one person who was instrumental in raising concerns has already been told the application for recompense will not be accepted, even though the impact of Bell’s behaviour on him is beyond doubt.

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However much the council may want it to be otherwise, the whole sordid affair is far from over.