Welcome to another week.
Lawyers representing child sexual abuse survivors have asked that Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, be called to give evidence at the nation’s Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse.
The request comes after evidence from several witnesses suggested that Gove intervened in an investigation into alleged sexual abuse by a priest. The claims, which allege that Gove telephoned to ask about the priest and requested a report on the complaint, were made by two child protection professionals. Gove denies the claims.
The lawyers believe that Gove should be questioned at the Inquiry in order to resolve the contradicting testimonies.
The Guardian reports:
“Clare Winter, the deputy director of children’s services responsible for children’s social care at Somerset county council, told the inquiry in 2017 that she received two telephone calls in 2010 from Gove and his office inquiring about the investigation.. The second call, she said, came from “somebody who said they were the secretary of state for education” who repeated a request for information about the progress of the investigation into a priest, known only as F65, suspected of having oral sex with a 16-year-old boy.
Jane Dziadulewicz, another safeguarding official responsible for child protection, told the inquiry that she helped produce a report for Gove’s office on the progress of the Downside investigation following the calls.”
MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has connections to Downside school, never responded to the Guardian’s questions in relation to whether he had discussed the investigation with Gove.
As the communications to the professionals were not made in person, it is possible that an individual was pretending to be Gove in order to access information. If calls were recorded by councils, this would have offered strong evidence and helped to clear up the conflicting testimonies in this case.
Our question this week then, is just this: do you think councils should record their calls?