A charity has accused child protection bosses in Birmingham of “incompetence” after waiting two-and-a-half years for a report into rape and grooming at a nursery.
Derek Inman, chief executive at Nechells Regeneration Project (NRP), said Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, a statutory body that works with the city council, was holding up a vital £40,000 insurance payout after a series of delays to a serious case review.
The review surrounds the closure of the Little Stars Nursery, run by the project, which was closed after it emerged a member of staff had raped a toddler and groomed 22 other girls over the internet.
Insurers are refusing to pay the charity for loss of earnings until the report – which had been expected last July – is published.
Mr Inman said the hold-up was hindering plans to carry out vital work supporting the local community in Nechells – and stopping lessons from being learned from the horrific crime, which saw 21-year-old Paul Wilson handed a life sentence.
In an email seen by the Post, Mr Inman accused Birmingham City Council and the Safeguarding Children Board of “incompetence” over the last two years.
The email to Simon Cross, business manager of the Safeguarding Children Board, states: “I have tried to chase up with you but you choose to hide behind your staff, and do not return calls.
“The last information from them is that it could be in May, two years and five months after the incident. This beggars belief and shows a lack of compassion as well as incompetence.
“As I have explained to you on more than one occasion, there is a substantial insurance claim for “loss of earnings” outstanding and real people are suffering because the insurance company will not pay out until they have seen the report.
“It is also the case that any lessons learned from this unfortunate incident should be immediately acted upon and measures implemented so it can’t happen again.”
Mr Inman said he had been promised on several occasions that the review was imminent and that it would be published last July.
The nursery was closed down after Wilson admitted 47 charges including rape and grooming. He must serve at least 15 years of a life term.
Wilson, of Nechells, Birmingham, abused the toddler at the nursery, and filmed the rape on his mobile phone.
Tim Watts, president of Birmingham and Black Country Community Foundation, the umbrella group over the NRP, said it was important that lessons were learned quickly.
He said in the past eight years the foundation has helped at least 2,500 youngsters in getting jobs. He said: “The delay in producing this report is absolutely scandalous.
“It is utterly wrong that Birmingham City Council should take so long.
“We believe we did everything by the book but if there are any lessons to be learned then we want to learn them – indeed there could be issues which the wider childcare community need to pick up on.
“Meanwhile we cannot pursue the insurance claim and so progress the re-building of our finances.”
Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board works closely with the council but is a separate entity established under the Children Act 2004.
A spokesman for the multi-agency Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board said: “The BSCB understands Mr Inman’s frustration at the delay in resolving his insurance claim and we have continued to provide him with regular updates on the progress of the serious case review.
“However, we must make clear that this is an extremely complex case and we will not compromise on the need to ensure the review is thorough, robust and independent.
“Once we have ratified the completed serious case review the final report will be sent to Department for Education and published on the safeguarding board website.”