Sean Bell inquiry report: Party politics risks letting down Edinburgh Council whistleblowers – John McLellan

At the top of the recommendations following the investigation into the way Edinburgh Council failed to stop the abusive and controlling behaviour of late senior social worker Sean Bell for 20 years was a plea for it not to become a political issue.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Labour leader Cammy Day has seized on events surrounding the publication of the report, says John McLellan (Picture: Ian Georgeson)

“It would not be in the interests of the CEC, or those whom it serves, for the Inquiry Team’s conclusions, observations or recommendations to be seized upon by elected members or their parties and used for political gain,” it said.

None of us would disagree and, while I can’t speak for the other parties, the Conservative group recognised well before the report was completed that it would not be appropriate to seek advantage from something so tragic.

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Tied to the administration, the SNP-Labour coalition was highly unlikely to use it as a “political instrument”, so this looked more like a shot across the main opposition’s bows.

However, events prior to the report’s publication have indeed been seized upon by a politician, Labour leader Cammy Day, which has deflected from the main issues and arguably done more than anything to risk creating the very situation the inquiry team sought to avoid.

Another review from the same team into the current management culture has still to be completed and there is a danger of party politics becoming a distraction, which the people I and others have spoken to would find, to borrow from the first report, reprehensible.

That is not what the brave whistleblowers expect or deserve.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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