Hollies Home, Sidcup
A private home used by Southwark council to place children moved from the Hollies during the residential dispute is under investigation following allegations of assault by a member of staff on a child at the home.
The privately-run independent home, Bryn Alyn at Wrexham, North Wales, took in some children after social services managers cleared the Hollies during the residential dispute in 1983.
Gwen James from Voice for the Child in Care said this move was “diabolical.”
She was concerned that the children had not been given a chance to say whether they wanted to go to a home so far from London. Also the sudden move to a home for disturbed young people, could have meant that children who were not severely disturbed were being placed inappropriately.
Southwark Council is reviewing its policy of placing children at the home as part of a full scale review of residential provision. According to Dennis Simpson, director of social services, both he and councillors were surprised to find Southwark had spent £369,000 on placements at the home during 1984-85.
Children have been placed there partly because of industrial action during the residential dispute but also because some homes in the borough are being refurbished.
Mr Simpson, who took up the director’s post in April, has ordered a full review of children at Bryn Alyn which will be presented to the next meeting of the social services committee.
“I suspect in the first instance they would have been surprised at the move. But the kind of information coming back is that it has been a suitable placement”.
The latest .allegation, that one boy had been assaulted by a member of staff is being thoroughly investigated. “We are obviously taking it very seriously,” said Mr Simpson. The boy is no longer at the home.
Stephen Elliott, deputy director of Bryn Alyn, said: “In any situation where allegations and complaints are made by youngsters, each one is viewed very seriously. We are investigating the matter jointly with Southwark
Social Work Today, 4th February 1985 (part ocr)
‘A report on the events at The Hollies children’s home in October 1983 comes up with a controversial conclusion
Amid controversy involving both councilors and Nalgo. Southwalk council chief executive, Gerry Corless, has published his report on events that led up to the forced removal of children from the Hollies home. Sidcup. Kent, on Thursday October 27, 1983
It was on that night. 15 months ago, that local police were brought in by senior management to empty the children’s home, using Bexley Heath police station as a staging post for children awaiting their new placements.
The reportt comes out against the union’s stance which led up to these events and backs the use of the police under the circumstances. But the report does admit that allegations of mishandling and assault of children by members of the management team were “not without foundation”. The allegations will he investigated.
The removal of the children came after Nalgo members, who were taking part in a national strike to improve pay and conditions, were unable to provide cover for the night. Senior managers covered the staffing of the homes at the Hollies complex instead, with instructions from the then
director of social services John Briggs. that the situation could no longer he maintained and the children must he moved — a decision which had been authorised by an industrial relations emergency committee.What the members of that committee did not know, according to Tony Ritchie, now
leader of Southwark council, was that this would involve the police. The decision taken by Mr Briggs would not have been sanctioned by the present council, he said — a flat contradiction of the chief executive’s view.’