HAMPSHIRE’S child welfare boss has stood by three council workers criticised by a judge over the “cover-up” of a doctored report.

Steve Crocker praised the “exemplary records” of Sarah Walker-Smart, Kim Goode and Lisa Humphreys and offered the “full support” of Hampshire County Council.

It comes after a judge ruled Ms Goode “initiated” the changing of a parents’ assessment to remove their positive qualities.

Judge Mark Horton said Ms Goode also “attempted to keep the truth” from a custody case at Portsmouth Family Court.

The county council denies the judge’s finding that Ms Walker-Smart lied on oath and said it is “gravely disappointed” the three were named.

Judge Horton said Ms Humphreys, Ms Goode’s manager, gave a “hollow apology” to the parents during the court case.

The council won its battle to keep the children, aged between three and 16, in foster care after the judge ruled they had been neglected by their parents.

One social worker has been sacked in connection with the case but the council refused to name them or confirm whether it was any of those named by the judge.

Ms Walker-Smart had been promoted to team manager at the county council, the court heard, but a council spokesman refused to confirm when, or whether she was still an employee. Ms Goode has since become district manager at Isle of Wight Council while Ms Humphreys is assistant director of children’s social care at Lambeth Council in London.

Mr Crocker, Hampshire County Council’s interim director of children’s services, said: “Firstly, the authority wishes to make it clear that the judge in this case ultimately agreed with the social workers’ arguments that the children were suffering significant neglect and needed to be protected through alternative care arrangements.

“The social workers named by Judge Mark Horton have exemplary records and have our full support. We are gravely disappointed that the judge saw fit to name them in these terms.

“The county council respects the judgement that has been handed down in this case and has complied with the instructions given.

“However, the county council has reviewed the circumstances and documentation surrounding the case and does not agree with the statement that a social worker lied to the court. The county council is considering its position with regard to how to make further representations on this matter.”

Judge Horton said given the “enormity” of what staff had done and the fact “they still work as social workers, it was right that they be named so members of the public were aware of “their shortcomings in this case”.