We need the full story on late social worker Sean Bell - John McLellan

The investigation into failures in the City Council’s social work department over 20 years takes another twist today when councillors will be asked to decide whether to commission another probe into allegations of misuse of public funds by the late senior social worker Sean Bell.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 12:30 am
Susanne Tanner QC chaired the independent inquiry into complaints and organisational culture surrounding late social worker Sean Bell, although the findings have not been widely disclosed. PIC: Contributed.

There is advice that, as this was investigated in 2011, it would not be a good use of public money, but the problem is that very few councillors have seen the 2011 report, or know what happened with any recommendations it might have made.

Council staff were affected by this incident, one of them so severely that it resulted in a nervous breakdown, yet there is an apparent expectation that councillors will be able to make a decision on circumstances about which they know little.

It may well be that there is no need to spend more money on another investigation, but it’s impossible to tell without full disclosure of existing knowledge.

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And without the information, it can’t be properly understood why this aspect of Sean Bell’s behaviour and that of what might be called his protectors was not included in the first report from Susanne Tanner QC.

The report to today’s council meeting also mentions of details of this so-called “old boys network” at the heart of the social work department which covered up allegations of wrong-doing, but again councillors have not seen any details and are only being told that a further recommendation will be produced at some point.

These investigations are costing around a million pounds and the full truth must come out.

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