Scandal-hit social work team send vulnerable child’s details to wrong address and fail to fix blunder
SANDRA Gallagher was shocked when she received classified details about a five-year-old schoolgirl by mistake.
AN under-fire social work team sent sensitive case details about a vulnerable child to the wrong address – and have failed to collect them five months after being told of the blunder.
Sandra Gallagher was shocked when she received classified details about a five-year-old schoolgirl by mistake.
But despite raising the alarm with Fife Council chiefs within minutes of opening the mail in May, no one has collected the file.
The 49-year-old, who still has the document, said:
“It beggars belief that they could send something like this in error. What’s even more alarming is that no one seems to be bothered. I was told someone would be in touch – but no one has been near me.”
Sandra received a four-page file, known as a “child wellbeing minute”, which provided details of care issues surrounding the girl and her family.
The girl was considered as being at risk and also subject of an investigation into physical abuse claims. It was alleged she had been attacked by her mother who was described as battling a drink problem.
Sandra with the letter she was sent by mistake
According to the paperwork, her parents denied she had been the victim of an assault during a Child Protection Investigation.
The error emerged after the council’s social work department were heavily criticised over the case of tragic infant Liam Fee, who was murdered by his mum Rachel Trelfa and civil partner Nyomi Fee in 2014.
Liam’s social worker Lesley Bate was removed from the care register after a hearing into her handling of his case. A Scottish Social Services Council conduct sub-committee struck her off – but said “systemic failures” at Fife Council had also played a part in the “pattern of misconduct that developed”.
Sandra, from Burntisland, Fife, whose own family have had involvement with Fife Council’s social work team, said she opened the mail after recognising the department’s stamp.
She was looking after a property owned by her daughter when the documents arrived. The family say neither of the child’s parents have ever lived at the address.
She said: “It was only when I started reading that I realised it couldn’t be meant for my family. The letter was marked for the attention of the girl’s dad. It was an innocent mistake. I phoned up Fife social work department and explained what had happened and suggested that correspondence like this should surely be sent recorded delivery. But a woman claimed they couldn’t afford to do that. She said someone would be in touch but I’ve heard nothing since.”
Fife Council are looking for a new £116,000-a-year head of children’s services after the previous head, Craig Munro, resigned earlier this year.
Steve Hopton, the council’s service manager, said: “We can reassure the public that Fife Council take the confidentiality of our clients very seriously and we are investigating this issue. The report was correctly sent to the address we held on file for our client at that time and should not have been opened by anyone other than who it was addressed to. Our client confirmed they had lived at this address.”
The Scottish Conservatives’ Liz Smith said: “This is a major error and could have caused considerable damage. Surely extra care must be taken with sensitive documents.” dailyrecord