Michael Gove: A Paedophile’s Unwitting Friend?

Dereliction of duty to protect the nation's school children from child abusers

Michael Gove:Dereliction of duty to protect school children from child abusers

Michael Gove is not known for being shy and retiring when it comes to forcing decisions on the nation’s schools. Yet rather curiously he has disclosed that he has no intention of intervening to ensure that when children are sexually abused in the nation’s state funded and private schools that the incident should be reported.

My colleagues Frederika Whitehead and Mark Conrad have written the full story for Exaro News ( see http://www.exaronews.com/articles/4999/michael-gove-blocks-move-to-force-schools-to-report-sex-abuse) .

Put simply he has written to Cheryl Gillan, the ex-minister and Tory MP for nearby Chesham and Amersham, saying that he is against mandatory reporting of allegations to the specific local officer  because it could ” swamp ” officialdom ” with every incident reported”. He says : ” schools should be trusted to make their own professional judgement ” to report the matter.

This statement is extraordinary for two reasons. Why does Gove think authorities are going to be swamped? Does he think they are loads of kids in the nation’s schools waiting to accuse their teachers of sexual abuse? Or does he suspect, as the abused tell us, that this much more widespread than we realise and he frankly doesn’t want to know?

Also sadly the idea of relying on schools to use their professional judgement to report sexual abuse cases appears to be rather hollow from my experience. In the investigations I have covered what appears to happen is that schools and social services are prone to cover this up. Both the London borough of Richmond and the  Roman Catholic Salesian order have paid off victims and in the case of the Salesians got the person to sign a gagging order not to reveal what happened. This results in the perpetrators often being moved to avoid a scandal and getting new jobs elsewhere  where they repeat the pattern, Jimmy Savile style.

I am sure that Michael Gove is not a supporter of paedophilia nor am I accusing or even inferring in the headline that he is remotely sympathetic to child abusers. But unwittingly by not doing so he is  giving aid and comfort to those who want this hushed up. My accusation against Gove is more dereliction of duty as secretary of state for education in not providing the protection of the law for children who are sexually abused. I know from other sources that the Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit take a similar view.

How Michael Gove plays fast and loose with taxpayers money on school redundos

 ImageOne would expect a right-wing Tory like education secretary  Michael Gove to be pretty diligent on how he spends taxpayers cash. You wouldn’t expect him to spray public money around without Treasury approval and then tell auditors  to get lost if they pick him up on it.

This is exactly what he has done  by handing out extra cash to his beloved school academies so they can  buy staff  redundos with extra payments without bothering to get it cleared by the Treasury.

And when this was rightly picked up by the National Audit Office – the independent Whitehall body that scrutinises taxpayers’ cash –  he has had the cheek to demand that the NAO and the Treasury go away and forget it.

The row is revealed by me in a piece for Exaro News (http://www.exaronews.com ) this month after the NAO took the decision to qualify the £6.1 billion accounts of the quango that funds academy schools ( now merged into a wider body ) after it found  14 cases of excess severance payments, totalling just under £230,000 at nine academies.

This may not sound much but it only found out about them after checking accounts of 135 academics – just eight percent of them. The other 92 per cent of academy accounts were never scrutinised by the quango. If this figure were applied pro rata the number of excessive unapproved redundo cash would top nearly £3m.

Now this may be good news for the people involved but it seems to me like a repeat performance of what happened in the Thatcher era where millions of pounds of taxpayers money were paid out in early retirements just when cash was short. The result was worse as many of these people are probably still claiming pensions now.

Don’t get me wrong I am not against people getting a good redundo deal ( I got one myself in the private sector) but I do think that where public money is concerned the deal should be scrutinised by the Treasury first. Otherwise every pound paid out on top of normal redundo is being taken out of paying for kids education.

Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, writes in the report: “YPLA ( the now defunct quango) has not required academies to notify them of severance cases or any other payments that require Treasury approval, and so I have concluded that the assurance framework that YPLA had in place for the financial year was not capable of identifying and managing all cases.”

“I have been unable to confirm that, in all material respects, grants to academies conform with the authorities that govern them, and have been applied for the purposes intended by Parliament.”

Michael Gove’s response was: “We do not believe that we need approval for these payments because maintained schools are not required to submit them. We are working with the NAO and HM Treasury on this.”

This conveniently leaves out the fact that these schools are responsible to the  directly elected local authorities, academy schools are responsible to unelected civil servants.

My solution is simple. If Michael Gove wants to spray  taxpayers’ money around in this way, he should pay for it himself. After all the  excellent new search the money website (http://SearchTheMoney.com/) reveals he has received £462,000 in donations, £304,000 from one private equity firm). So he could raise the money for this excessive payments and leave the taxpayer to fund what it should do-public education.