MP to raise “outrageous shambles” over Norfolk foster carers review with ministers

Norman Lamb MP. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norman Lamb MP. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

An MP who said he has lost confidence in a review of allegations about the treatment of foster carers will raise his concerns with ministers.

The worries were raised in 2013 when a group of foster carers and young people met three Norfolk MPs to discuss their cases.

In March 2015, the council commissioned a review, led by Ian Parker, to examine historical complaints, including those of the 2013 families. Mr Parker recently submitted a draft report.

However, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who has been trying to resolve a dispute between the Norfolk Foster Carers Association (NFCA) and the council about the conduct of the review, raised a series of concerns in a letter to the council's managing director Wendy Thomson on Tuesday.

In particular, he said a couple who attended the 2013 meeting, and whose child had been abused, had given evidence to Mr Parker, but, after they contacted him for an update, were told this month that their case could not be included in the review.

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Mr Lamb quoted an email from Mr Parker saying this was because the council had not implemented an agreement it had reached with the NFCA.

Replying to Mr Lamb, Michael Rosen, executive director of Children's Services, said that, 'regardless of any further discussions between NCC and NFCA', the couple's case should be included in the review, as they were among those who met MPs in 2013.

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He added: 'My own priority in this is to ensure we have reviewed enough cases to get useful learning. If there are subsequent cases for NCC to resolve, and they may arise following our publication of a summary report and our response, then it would be right to resolve these directly with the individuals concerned.'

Mr Lamb, who said his letter had been made public without his knowledge, said he would raise his concerns with ministers, and added: 'This couple had met with Ian Parker to give their evidence, which they found quite a harrowing experience, bringing back old issues that were very traumatic for them, and then heard nothing further, and then discovered they were not part of the review. This is an outrageous shambles.

'What frustrates me intensely is this is a department that is supposed to be getting its act together and demonstrating to Ofsted and the government the problems are in the past, but it does not give me great confidence when a couple is treated this way.'

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