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Safety rules in spotlight after MP’s husband’s complaint

Coun John McCabe
Coun John McCabe

A complaint by the husband of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck which sparked an Ombudsman’s report over the handling of a safeguarding case has led to a review of procedures at South Tyneside Council.

Earlier this year, The Gazette revealed Simon Buck had launched an appeal over the way his case was handled after an investigation by South Tyneside Council found he had abused an elderly patient during his time as a care worker, in 2014.

Simon Buck

Simon Buck

Mr Buck denied the allegations, claimed safeguarding procedures were not followed correctly and the council had failed to tell him of the allegations against him, provide an opportunity for him to refute them or provide supporting evidence.

The Ombudsman’s report, in which Mr Buck was referred to throughout as Mr Y, found that the council had failed to follow some policy and procedures when conducting its investigation – but did not question the council’s finding of abuse

Now, a scrutiny committee is set to discuss the results of a report carried out in response to the Ombudsman’s findings and seek assurances that council procedures are compliant and fit for purpose.

The People Select Committee meeting will take place at South Shields Town Hall on Tuesday at 10am.

“As a scrutiny committee we have a duty to ensure that appropriate oversight and processes are followed within our safeguarding practice. This is vital to the safety and wellbeing of our residents.”

Coun McCabe

It will also look into issues around changes to the Disability Living Allowance, homelessness and get an update on Universal Credit.

Coun John McCabe, chairman of the committee, said: “Although the Ombudsman only highlighted very minor process issues that did not materially impact on the case borough council felt that a thorough review of our safeguarding processes should be undertaken.

He added: “As a scrutiny committee we have a duty to ensure that appropriate oversight and processes are followed within our safeguarding practice. This is vital to the safety and wellbeing of our residents.”

“This report highlights that our safeguarding policies and procedures have been subject to a full review in recent years following the introduction of the Care Act and are constantly updated to reflect best practice.”