Thurs 1 November 2007
Kerelaw - enquiry welcome if independence and remit cover all
the questions - UNISON
UNISON - the union representing most staff at Kerelaw school and
secure unit, today gave a cautious welcome to the announcement of
an independent public enquiry.
The union said they hoped this would give an opportunity for staff
to clear their names from the cloud of suspicion. However they warned
that the remit would have to be a wide one to ensure that the correct
lessons were learned, cover all the issues including the management
of the unit and the internal enquiry by Glasgow City Council.
UNISON has already responded to this internal enquiry criticising
it as seriously flawed.*
Ronnie Stevenson, Convenor of UNISON's Glasgow Social Work Stewards
said "Any enquiry must look at the flawed investigation carried
out by Glasgow City Council; consider the problem of care of these
vulnerable young adults which the closure of Kerelaw has exacerbated;
and also consider recommending fair and robust disciplinary procedures
to identify and deal with the guilty, and to prevent harassment
and intimidation of the innocent."
UNISON has raised many issues over the years about Kerelaw staffing,
resources and others. Had some of these been acted on sooner, we
may have been able to identify problems and deal with them sooner.
Where abuse occurred however, we, in no way, seek to defend that
The union also points out
1) That the unit was dealing with residents who were there because
families, communities and other care facilities could not deal with
their disruptive, confrontational and often violent behaviour. They
were not there voluntarily and did not want to be there.
2) That the standards of care - especially as far as techniques
of restraint - have changed dramatically over the last 25 years.
For example the establishment of Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
as a standard was pushed by UNISON and its members over the years
- often against management opposition.
3) A variety of external inspections over 20 years included many
good reports - for example, the last SWSI/HMIE report in 2003. The
dramatic change in 2004 calls into question the standards of the
inspection regimes and the reports before (both internal and external).
Note to editors * a copy of this response is available from
Chris Bartter below).
For Further Information Please Contact: Ronnie Stevenson
(Convenor - Glasgow SW stewards) 07803 952 262(m) Mandy McDowall
(Regional Officer) 07903 846 427(m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)