§ Dr. Godman
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many complaints he has received in each of the past five years concerning the treatment of children in care; on how many occasions in such cases he has ordered an inquiry to be made; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Stewart
Most complaints relating to the treatment of children in care are directed to the relevant local authority which has statutory responsibility for dealing with such complaints under section 5B of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. Where individuals have brought matters to the attention of my right hon. Friend, officials of the Scottish Office will generally make informal inquiries, but there have been no more than two or three minor complaints in each of the past few years. There have been two formal inquiries under section 99 of the Children Act 1975 in the last five years, following complaints made to the Secretary of State: the inquiry into child care policies in Fife and the Orkney inquiry.