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Chiefs criticised for withholding records

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Social services bosses have been rapped after refusing to hand over records to a Staffordshire mother whose children had been taken into care.

Social services bosses have been rapped after refusing to hand over records to a Staffordshire mother whose children had been taken into care.

After a lengthy battle the county council has been found to have breached the Data Protection Act by the Information Commissioner after its refusal to give documents to the woman.

The council has now been required to hand over all the relevant files to the mother who claims to have been unfairly treated by the county council. She cannot be named to protect the identity of her children who were originally taken into care over claims of domestic violence.

The mother, from Stafford, tried to get access to the files for two years. In June last year the council was due to deliver them to her but a last minute decision was taken not to because of concerns over what the mother may do with the information.

The mother has now received the files and claims they show her children were made to feel unsafe in foster care. The matter has been investigated by the county council which has also accepted the Information Commissioner's ruling.

The mother said: "The local authority deliberately fought to prevent me having access to the files for two years. I believe this was because there were things they did not want me to see."

In its ruling to the mother the ICO said: "I have confirmed my assessment that the council have breached the sixth data protection principle in this case."

Cabinet member for children at the county council Ian Parry, said: "We have only acted, and will continue to act, in the best interests of the children involved."

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