Digital copy of the Witness Statement of Geoffrey Spencer to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences as Principal Officer and Senior Child Care Officer at Heathfield from 1987 to 1991. [Some details redacted].

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June 16th 2015 - June 16th 2015

Scope and Content

Provides background information about himself and an overview of his early career involved in different aspects of social services following his retirement from the Army in 1975. Details his employment at a Community Education Home in Gloucestershire, as a Director Therapy, as a social worker in South Wales and his involvement as Principal Officer in establishing a Resource Centre in Bristol for leavers of the Kingswood Schools following its closure. Describes seeing the role of Principal Officer at Heathfield advertised in Community Care magazine in 1987, providing details of the application and interview process. Includes remarks about the condition of the job being to live in the accommodation annexed to Heathfield and includes a comparison of the application and interview process to that that he had experienced on the mainland. Includes a description of his first impressions of Heathfield, remarks about a change in role to that of Senior Child Care Officer following the establishment of a mixed young person's hostel, involvement in creation of the Adolescent Services Team, and comments about Anton Skinner. Includes comments about staff at Heathfield and comments about a comment in the Kathie Bull Report regarding inspections and remarks about aspects of the care system in Jersey. Details his involvement in setting up a hostel on Middleton Road [St Mark's Road] in March 1988, describing the purpose of the hostel, capacity, staffing, facilities and backgrounds of residents. Includes comments about the aftercare provision for children leaving Heathfield, recalling difficulties finding suitable environments for children leaving Heathfield. Recalls the layout at Heathfield and recollections of staff at Heathfield, including comments about the qualifications and recruitment process for staff at Heathfield. Describes the roles and responsibilities of staff including night shifts, remarks about staffing numbers and skill levels of staff, staff training and staff meetings. Describes his involvement in the development of the Key Worker system at Heathfield, including a description of the system, training involved and remarks about interactions between a child's Key Worker and Child Care Officer. Includes comments about the children at Heathfield, including remarks about behaviour and the hierarchical system in place amongst residents and difficulties dealing with such. Comments on discipline at Heathfield, noting that corporal punishment was not adopted and detailing recollections of policies and guidance for staff in respect of discipline and safeguarding issues. Describes the daily routine at Heathfield and comments about the rules of the home for residents. Includes comments about the closure of Le Squez [Family Group Home] in 1991 following allegations of abuse against the Houseparents, Jane and Alan Maguire. Comments on his involvement in the supervision of Le Squez on a temporary basis, recalling visits to Le Squez and details of contact with Jane Maguire and the children resident at Le Squez. Refers to an investigation undertaken by the Children's Department following allegations of abuse against the Maguires which resulted in their removal form the Home, stating that he has no recollection of any involvement in the investigation. Recalls complaints by two of the care staff regarding the way the Maguires treated children, detailing his subsequent action in response, and details of his supervisory role at Le Squez following the departure of the Maguires. Describes life after Heathfield, referring to his resignation in 1991 and relocation to the United Kingdom with his family where he worked in social work with the elderly. Describes two matters which he would have approached differently upon starting at Heathfield, stating that he would not have taken the accommodation annexed to the main building at Heathfield and that he would have demanded information on children joining from Haut de la Garenne and other Homes. [For Exhibits GS1 to GS7 referred to in this Witness Statement, see C/D/AW2/A7/24/WD006417/1 to C/D/AW2/A7/24/WD006417/7].


Baudains, Marnie
Bull, Kathie, Dr
Chappell, Brenda
Kahn, Barbara, Dr
Maguire, Alan
Maguire, Jane
Skinner, Anton
Spencer, Geoffrey
Strettle, Terry
Adolescent Services Team
Basil Lodge Hostel
Bristol University
Children's Services
Community Care
Department of Health
Education Committee
Haut de la Garenne
Health and Social Services
Heathfield Children's Home
Kingswood School
National Children's Home
St Mark's Adolescent Hostel
Stephenson Hall Training College


Avon | 9-11, Blanche Pierre Close | Bristol | Gloucestershire | Haut de la Garenne | Heathfield, St Saviour | Le Squez | 24, St Mark's Road | South Wales | United Kingdom | abuse | allegations | case conferences | child abuse | child protection | childcare | Children | children's homes | children's services | complaints | discipline | evidence | Family Group Homes | IJCI | interviews | investigations | key workers | laws | management | physical abuse | Principal Officers | residential care | residential homes | Senior Child Care Officers | social workers | statements | training | witness statements | witnesses


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