Herefordshire Council paid out nearly £150,000 in compensation after four court judgments against its children’s department, it has been revealed.

The news is the latest in the complex tale of ongoing failure at the department, which continues to come to light piece by piece.

It results from a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Herefordshire resident Jim McGeown, who asked the council how much it had paid out in respect of cases ruled on by Mr Justice Keehan since 2018.

His February 2018 judgment on two unrelated boys, CD and GH, found they had been victims of “egregious abuses” of the council’s powers to take children into care.


In November 2018, in the “A & B” case, the senior family court judge said care of two half-sisters, A and B, had been “woeful over 10 years or so”.

At the same time, he issued a separate judgment (the “BT & GT” case) on twins, BT and GT, who due to “incompetence and serial failings” at the council were put up for adoption in separate households.

Then in March 2021, the same judge issued a judgment in the “YY” case, involving three siblings, A, B and D, who had persistently alleged sexual abuse at the hands of their parents and others. A fourth sibling, child C, had died while in council care.

Here he said in this case that the council’s “actions, omissions and failures have been spread over a period in excess of eight years”, and that the department’s conduct in the children’s lives had been “appalling”.

Answering the latest Freedom of Information request, the council’s information access officer did not break down the pay-outs per case, arguing that to do so would mean disclosing personal information.

But she said: “I can confirm that to date a total of £148,000 has been paid in compensation in relation to the four judgements.”