Flintshire Council could be forced to pay out thousands of pounds to victims of historic sexual abuse in care homes outside the area.
It includes Bryn Estyn children’s home in Wrexham, which was once dubbed ‘the Colditz of care’ after a report found there was “extensive” mistreatment of youngsters.
Politicians have been told that because the authority is the formal successor to Clwyd County Council, it could be liable for compensation to former care home residents in Wrexham, Denbighshire and parts of Conwy.
To date, a total of £14,000 has been paid out as a result of cases, including one which dates back to 1953, and there are still a number outstanding.
The council is currently assisting the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which was set up because of concerns that some organisations failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
Speaking at a meeting today, Gareth Owens, chief officer for governance, said: “Following the Jimmy Savile revelations, the Government set three operations in train, which were Operation Pallial, the Macur Review and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
“The stage they have come to now is looking at accountability and reparations.
“They have asked for a number of documents from this council which we have supplied to them.
“They have also asked for witness statements, one of which is how the council responded to a large number of sexual abuse claims in Clwyd.
“With that witness statement, in the end there was over 200 cases brought following the historic cases.”
During the meeting Hope councillor Gladys Healey questioned why Flintshire was now responsible and whether Clwyd had set any money aside to assist before it was disbanded in 1996.
The council has paid external solicitors £15,000 so far in order to assist with the inquiry and that amount could increase.
Mr Owens said: “I’m not aware that any money was ringfenced in the days of Clwyd and brought forward.
“What we have done is we have taken small amounts out of the contingency reserves to pay damages to the small amount of people who have brought a claim against the council.
“We’re the successor to Clwyd and it gets worse because Bryn Estyn was also run by Denbighshire and pre-Denbighshire it was run by the Home Office.
“We’ve had claims dating back to 1953 when it was a Home Office institution.”
Councillors were told that there was no way for the council to recoup costs from other organisations because of arrangements made when the old authority was split.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter
Image: Bryn Estyn children’s home in Wrexham (Channel 4)