Labour call for changes at Medway Council following safeguarding children report
Labour has called for major
changes after Medway Council’s safeguarding children services were
In a damning report by Ofsted, the
department, which should be protecting children at risk of abuse,
neglect or harm, was found to be failing.
Inspectors found staff were putting
children at risk by not following procedures and not acting quickly
Labour councillors have called for
the department to be split between children and adults to make it
The party has also once again
called for Cllr Les Wicks, who is in charge of children’s services,
Cllr Adam Price, Labour
spokesperson for children and young people, said: “Medway Labour
has had concerns since the creation of the single director for
children and adults services that the directorate of children and
adults services is simply too big for one director to deal
“We call on the council to revert
to the former senior leadership model of separate directors of
children’s services and adult services to ensure the best possible
chance of recovering from this unacceptable position.”
Labour group leader Cllr Vince
Maple said: “Some issues are so serious that saying sorry is simply
not good enough.
“Cllr Les Wicks, as the politician
with responsibility for Medway’s young people, must recognise that
this inspection – which has the worst possible judgement on
safeguarding – happened on his watch.
“The only option for him is to step
down from this portfolio.”
The department was rated inadequate
in all four areas of the inspection. The report states that
although no children were found to be at immediate risk, deficits
in the department led to some children being “inadequately
Ofsted said social workers were
dealing with high case loads and the department was relying too
heavily on agency staff.
Trish Marchant, Medway Green Party co-ordinator said
(pictured): “The service is already under strain with the financial
provision they have.
"It is extremely worrying to think
what further impact cuts to council funding imposed by the
coalition government could have.
“Kent County Council has only been
able to bring their Children’s Services up to scratch after a
similar damning Ofsted report, by employing an extra 48 social
Cllr Les Wicks, who is in charge of
children’s services, has apologised for the shortcomings.
He said: “We have completed a
thorough review of the whole children’s safe guarding area and in
late 2012 we instigated a major programme of change that was
starting to address the weaknesses identified by Ofsted’s
inspection in January.
“We still have much to do, but
are committed to working with our partners to protect children at
risk in Medway.”
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