PEMBROKESHIRE County Council should unreservedly apologise to a whistleblower who lost her job after raising concerns about a youth worker later convicted of child sex crimes.

The Cabinet, on behalf of the council, should also make a payment to the whistleblower, Sue Thomas, who first raised concerns about Mik Smith in 2005, a report says.

The recommendations are in a report of a task and finish group which will be heard by Cabinet on Monday (April 8).

Smith was sacked by Pembrokeshire County Council in 2011 but went on to abuse a boy in 2013. He was jailed for six years in 2014.

But Mrs Thomas had raised concerns about his behaviour around children years before, only to see them dismissed as a ‘clash of personalities’ by the former county council Chief Executive, Bryn Parry-Jones.

Smith was handed a verbal warning and Mrs Thomas was expected to return to work under Smith “despite clearly representing her accurate belief that he posed a threat to the welfare of children.”

The report adds: “The mischaracterisation of her complaint culminated in her dismissal as ‘being incapable of undertaking the duties of her post’ however, our view is that having done the right thing as a whistleblower, she was forced out of the authority while Mik Smith continued in his role.”

By the time Mrs Thomas was dismissed, another complaint about Smith had been raised by colleagues.

Yet Smith was handed a reference by the former head of the youth service and a confidential report obtained exclusively by the Western Telegraph later detailed how it was only luck that prevented him from becoming a foster carer.

On the application, the head of youth service not only failed to raise any concerns about Smith but actually wrote: “Mik is a very well respected and knowledgeable youth worker.”

The report states: “As Mik Smith’s line manger, [name redacted] wrote this reference having had not only knowledge of, but prior personal involvement in the disciplinary case against Mik Smith, which found that he had engaged in improper conduct with children.

“Additionally, it is astonishing that [name redacted] would state Mik Smith was held in high regard by his colleagues in the full knowledge that his conduct had been the subject of disciplinary action, reported by Mik Smith’s own colleagues."

The report recommends PCC confirms that failings in how the authority responded to Mrs Thomas’ concerns have been put right.

The Cabinet should also consider whether the legacy of Mrs Thomas’ contribution to whistleblowing and the protection of children should be marked in a lasting way.

The full report can be seen here.