Council’s secret £35k compensation payment after pupil is injured in school gym
Town Hall leaves no opportunity to prope whether lessons have been learned after child injured ankle and spine in fall
12 July, 2019
THE Town Hall has secretly paid £35,000 in compensation to a pupil who suffered serious injuries in a school gym.
Camden, however, was last night (Wednesday) refusing to comment on the case, despite the scale of the payment – one of the biggest settlements relating to council liability.
The silence means it is not known what concrete measures were taken to review the incident in recent years or what was being done to ensure children do not suffer similar injuries.
The New Journal understands that opposition councillors were not informed of even the scantest details, leaving them no opportunity to scrutinise whether lessons had been learned from the case. Many members of the ruling Labour group were also in the dark.
Instead, the compensation spending has only been made public after papers were released under the Freedom of Information Act.
They confirm a payment of £35,000 had been made after a “pupil sustained a fractured ankle and spine injuries after falling from apparatus in a school gym”.
The identity of the school where the incident occurred is not included and some level of confidentiality is attached to the case.
But beyond personal details to understandably protect the child involved, Camden said it would not comment. It did not even wish the injured pupil a full recovery in its no comment response.
After further questions from the New Journal, a press official said: “The council will always investigate an incident where someone is injured to ensure that all relevant safety checks are carried out and any changes to procedures or equipment is made for the safety of all pupils.”
Conservative group leader Councillor Oliver Cooper said: “The council is far too opaque, meaning far too few lessons are learned when mistakes are made. The Resources Committee is not told anything about settlements or compensation the council is ordered to pay, so councillors would never know unless they knew about specific incidents already.”
He added: “Combined with so many financial matters being withheld under confidential officer reports, it’s a big gap in the ability to scrutinise where things are going right and wrong. Tens of millions of pounds can be spent without