Council agrees independent children’s services review to ensure similar failings don’t happen again
At an extraordinary meeting of the county council today, elected members agreed a motion proposed by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Lib Dem) and seconded by Cllr Joe Harris (Lib Dem).
After some amendments were proposed by Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Con) and Cllr Richard Boyles (Con), the following motion was agreed unanimously:
- a) In response to the Ofsted report published on 13 June 2017, this council calls for cross-party representation on the newly established improvement board to review progress and ensure maximum scrutiny.
- b) This council requests an open, public and fully independent LGA Peer Review, the scope and composition to be agreed by group leaders, of the failings as outlined in the Ofsted report, specifically to understand the cultural issues identified within the council and the inadequacies in management oversight to ensure that similar problems do not arise again or in other service areas, in preparation for which:
- c) This council requests the chief executive, in consultation with group leaders, to carry out a full review into the council’s corporate culture and in particular:
- i) To commission an independent review of support for whistle-blowers and independent help and support for staff to raise concerns.
- ii) To ensure corporate ownership of all exit interviews, and appropriate access by scrutiny and cabinet members to that information.
iii) To review the appraisal process.
- iv) To carry out an independent, transparent, annual staff survey, the results of which will be shared with all councillors.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Lib Dem), leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “We decided to call this special meeting to give every councillor a voice in reacting to the Ofsted report into children’s services. We were all shocked by what was in the report which made painful reading. Today, the whole council has unanimously agreed a series of actions which if implemented should start addressing some of these deep seated issues.”
Cllr Richard Boyles, cabinet member for children and families, said: “The council must work together to ensure a better service for our young people. An independent review by the LGA will help us to make sure that good practice is embedded in the frontline; that we as elected members ask the right questions moving forward; and that everyone feels safe enough to come forward when issues arise.”
Cllr Lesley Williams (Lab), leader of the Labour group, said: "We are united in our resolve to make sure that no child is left vulnerable. We need to make sure that they are cared for as if they were our own, but it is clear that children have been let down, and that is unforgivable. We need a confident, resourced and supported service and I am reassured that with the support of opposition councillors, the administration can achieve this."