July 14, 2024

Cyril Smith, Lib Dem MP, conducted ‘medical examinations’ on boys, even though he wasn’t medically qualified!

The recent UK Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse reported that Cyril Smith, the obese Lib Dem MP, conducted ‘medical examinations’ on boys, even though he wasn’t medically qualified!

He conducted the examination on boys who lived in Cambridge House, a residential home for boys in care of the local authority.

Quite what it meant that Smith conducted ‘medical examinations’ I haven’t read enough to find out about.

Did people really think Cyril Smith was conducting medical examinations?

Or did everyone connected with the care home and local authority understand what was meant when Smith conducted a ‘medical examination’?

It could be easy to assume that there was something especially cunning and intimidating about Smith, that meant he was a special case. But perhaps we need to be more wise than this. Maybe there are lessons that can be learned about the weaknesses in the systems of power, roles and accountability, that can be applied across all local authority and residential care home settings.

What was it about the structures, processes and roles within the local authority and care home, which might be shared across authorities and homes, that allows a man, with the cunning and intimidatory power of Smith, to get his way? What more could be done to change and strengthen these structures, processes and roles, to stop Smith from getting his way?

 

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