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Gutierrez to decide on Maybury report

Alfred Maybury, director of the Department of Child and Family Service (File photograph)

Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez will decide whether the Department of Internal Audit was right to keep secret the findings of its inquiry into the head of the island’s child protection agency.

Alfred Maybury, director of the Department of Child and Family Services, was suspended last August after being accused of ignoring allegations about DCFS staff mistreating children in care.

The Ministry of Social Development and Sport launched an inquiry the same month but the ministry was later abolished.

The DCFS moved to the Ministry of Legal Affairs and that ministry was understood to have taken over the investigation.

In November, the Department of Internal Audit, in the Cabinet Office, revealed it was conducting a “review into the Department of Child and Family Services”.

Mr Maybury returned to work in January after the Government announced that a “thorough investigation” had found the claims against him were “not substantiated”.

It said the claims were that Mr Maybury failed to perform his duty regarding the care and safety of children at a residential facility, and that he was not following financial instructions.

The Royal Gazette asked the Government under public access to information for the “full report into allegations of misconduct against Alfred Maybury, which was conducted by the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Department of Internal Audit”.

Legal Affairs refused to disclose whether the record existed because the ministry said to do so would “add unnecessary confusion to misinformation which is already present in the media and public domain”.

It said such investigations had to remain highly confidential so as not to prejudice or undermine future investigations.

Marva O’Brien, permanent secretary at the ministry, did not respond to a request for a review of that decision in the six-week time frame required by the Pati Act.

The Department of Internal Audit said records it obtained or created in the course of carrying out its functions were exempt from Pati.

Cabinet Secretary Marc Telemaque reaffirmed that decision after an internal review.

The newspaper appealed Mr Telemaque’s decision and Ms O’Brien’s lack of a decision to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Ms Gutierrez’s review into Legal Affairs will be limited to whether Ms O’Brien failed to make a decision in accordance with the Pati Act and will not consider whether the report into Mr Maybury should be released.

Her review into Internal Audit will look at whether the department was right to refuse to release the report under section 4 of the Pati Act.

A spokeswoman for David Burt, the Premier, said: “Internal Audit reports are exempt from Pati under section 4 and, as such, are held internally for use by the Government for its decision-making purposes in accordance with the Internal Audit Act 2010 and international internal auditing standards and code of ethics.”

A Ministry of Legal Affairs spokeswoman said: “We do not discuss internal personnel matters publicly.”

To view the Pati request refusal, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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