A local government boss who publicly backed social workers at the height of the Baby P scandal has now been accused of suppressing a series of complaints about the abuse of children by Pakistani gangs.
Andy Couldrick was the head of Children’s Services at Oxfordshire County Council but later moved to Wokingham Borough Council where is now earns £155k a year as their Chief Executive.
At the height of the abuse in Oxfordshire a former police officer who worked at the council claimed to have witnessed a 13-year-old in bed with an adult. The whistleblower also claimed abuse was taking place at a property Asian men visited during the night.
However, instead of taking action against the Pakistani men a senior Oxfordshire County Council official allegedly complained about the whistleblower to their line manager. The manager in turn apologised for the whistleblower’s “unprofessional behaviour” and he stopped making further complaints about abuse.
As result of the inaction of Oxfordshire County Council around 370 children were raped by gangs of men. Today’s Daily Mail claims the senior official at the Council who made the complaint about the whistleblower was Andy Couldrick.
Mr Couldrick is a controversial figure in local government, having used his Twitter account to complain about the “disgraceful treatment” of social workers during a documentary on Baby P. He also accused politicians and the media of a “witch hunt” against the profession.
He went on to say of the Panorama documentary: “Such a poor, partial, sensationalist piece of journalism, offering no right of reply for my authority. Shame on you Panorama.” Baby P had been seen by Haringey Social Services multiple times but they failed to take steps to prevent his mother murdering him mother in 2007.
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, expressed his anger at the allegation a whistleblower in Oxfordshire was silenced. He told the Independent: “We should really celebrate whistleblowers – people who are trying to improve public services – not denigrate them and make their life difficult. This was someone concerned about the welfare of Oxfordshire children being told to shut up.”
Andy Couldrick claimed the complaints at the time related to the noise from the property not the abuse taking place there. He said: “The concerns appeared to relate to noise and nuisance at the property occupied by the young woman’s father. I consulted with her social worker, and the manager of the home in which she was living, and they in turn with Thames Valley Police officers.”
He continued: “We did not understand this type of abuse and its scale at that time, and were focused on individual young people.” Couldrick’s spokeswoman would not comment on whether he made a complaint about the whistleblower.