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NEWCASTLE CRITICISED FOR DELAYS ON SEX ABUSE REVIEW

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Newcastle City Council delayed unreasonably in setting up a review into sexual abuse allegations at one of its dayc...
Newcastle City Council delayed unreasonably in setting up a review into sexual abuse allegations at one of its daycare centres, a local government ombudsman has found.

The ombudsman found there had been maladministration causing injustice in the council's handling of the serious sex abuse allegations. It lost sight of the need to investigate complaints promptly and although some of the delay was not the council's fault, a 'lack of planning and control' caused a delay of around a year in setting up a review, which probably could have been concluded two years earlier.

However, the ombudsman rejected parents' complaints that the council had tried to impose restrictive conditions on the investigation and supported the council's decision not to start a review until criminal proceedings finished.

Leader Tony Flynn said the council accepted it had taken a long time to set up the independent review, but it wanted to proceed sensitively because parents' support was crucial.

The council had immediately offered counselling and practical help to the families affected, he said.
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