Friday, 26 April 2013

Rochdale Council Sued for Saying Too Much About Care Homes

ROCHDALE Council and its leader, Colin Lambert, are being sued for over £400,000 over remarks made in the heat of the sexual grooming scandal last year.  At that time Colin Lambert said that Rochdale was the 'wrong' place to bring vulnerable children into care homes after a gang of local sexual molesters were sent to prison.  He also claimed that the private care homes were doing the 'opposite' of protecting and rehabilitating youngsters.

Now two firms, Meadows Care and Pathfinders Childcare, which between them manage 16 Rochdale homes, have filed a libel writ at the High Court against both Labour Councillor Lambert and the Rochdale Council.  They claim eight councils have pulled out of their homes as a consequence of Councillor Lambert's comments leaving them with £416,000 of lost business as a result.  They also claim the loss to their reputation is greater still.

Councillor Lambert made his remarks after a public meeting last May, following the conviction of nine men for abusing more than 40 vulnerable young lasses in Rochdale over a long period. 

The writ says that Councillor Lambert, a long time campaigner for tighter care home regulation, claimed the council had no control over private homes or the children in them, and after criticising the care system as a whole, he said:  'Rochdale borough, at the moment, is the wrong place to send these children.'

It seems that Lancashire, Doncaster, Kirklees, Calderdale, St. Helen's, North Yorkshire, Rotherham and Ealing councils were all to stop placing children in the care homes of the Rochdale firms shortly afterwards.

For Rochdale Council its deputy chief executive Linda Fisher said:  'The Council is taking the matter seriously and the action will be defended.'

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