It is claimed that staff who tried to expose alleged malpractices were victimised and feared for their jobs.
The inquiry follows the setting up of a support group to help staff who say they were intimidated to substantiate their claims. The county's recently-appointed director of social services, Ted Unsworth, is said to be surprised by the allegations but also very concerned, and he wants the matter to be cleared up as soon as possible.
A county council spokesman said Mr Unsworth has agreed to meet members of the support group and hopes to name an independent investigator to look into the claims within the next few days. Protection has been guaranteed to the complainants during the investigation.
He commented: 'I think this is such a shocking state of affairs, it's one for Lord Nolan's casebook on standards in public life. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people send in details, myself included'.