The man conducting a review into a failed Copthorne care home has insisted his report will be thorough and fair.
A Serious Case Review (SCR) was commissioned by the West Sussex Adult Safeguarding Board on the last day of an inquest in the deaths of 19 Orchid View residents.
The review will cover the period from September 2009 – when the home opened – to now and will be chaired by former director of social services at Hampshire County Council Nick Georgiou.
But a lawyer representing the residents’ families has expressed concern the review would not be thorough enough.
Last week, Ian Christian, a partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Whilst we welcome any review that promises to identify failings and draw up recommendations so that the same mistakes cannot be repeated, we believe the horrific scale of neglect at Orchid View warrants a completely independent inquiry.
“We have also raised concerns about the impartiality of the review when it is being led by a former director of social services, which was one of the many organisations responsible for safeguarding Orchid View residents before it closed. We need confirmation that all authorities will be scrutinised at the same level.”
However Mr Georgiou insisted the review would be independent of social services.
He said: “I thoroughly understand the distress and concerns of the families who have lost loved ones in awful circumstances.
“My job is to act with independence in ensuring that all the relevant agencies account for their actions in line with the remit of a SCR. The purpose of the SCR is to examine thoroughly the circumstances in this case since Orchid View opened, to understand and analyse what happened there, including with the agencies that were responsible for placing, supporting, delivering, and monitoring care to people at Orchid View.
“By doing that, we can see whether there are lessons to be learnt about the way in which local professionals and agencies work together to promote the welfare and safeguarding of vulnerable adults. I fully expect that at the conclusion of the process there will be recommendations drawn from this work that will be presented to the West Sussex Adult Safeguarding Board for their action.”