In 1996, the then Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, ordered an inquiry into allegations of hundreds of cases of child abuse in care homes in former county council areas of Clwyd and Gwynedd between 1974 and 1990. Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC, a retired High Court judge , was appointed to head the inquiry, which began in 1997 and reported in 2000. 
The Waterhouse report recommended that there be a massive overhaul of the way in which children in care are dealt with by local councils, social services and the police. The post of Children's Commissioner for Wales was created as a result of one of the 72 recommendations. 
In the year following the report, 140 compensation claims were settled with victims of the abuse.