Just as in March last year when the local media demonstrated their value to the local community the latest information that the Northamptonshire County Council are looking to recruit almost 90 full-time qualified Social Workers is welcome.
What is and should be a major concern is that the time between addressing the major issue of the failure of the County Council to protect the most vulnerable of children which led to a number of them no longer being with us and recruiting Social Workers is as the headline said at the time
I said in March last year that “Inadequate May be a Generous Assessment”
Which once the full and shocking state of the Northamptonshire Child Protection services had come to light following the publication of the Ofsted report it became obvious that ‘Inadequate’ was very much an over generous assessment of what was a systematic and systemic failure of the Conservative administration.
Of course we got the usual ” what do we do to avoid responsibility” response of setting up a review from which those responsible predictably said,
“We accept the report and will learn the lessons”
They then appointed a very experienced and respected Senior Manager to put things right, who subsequently left to take up a better offer elsewhere.
What hasn’t of course happened is that those responsible for cutting funding for the services and for the implementation of the policy must have seen similar failures elsewhere, and like many right-minded people should have been appalled at the consequences of the neglect.
So why an earth did they continue to cut professional social workers and funding for vulnerable children and allowed the Counties most vulnerable children to be neglected?
The headlines at the time “Don’t Fail Them Again” didn’t go far enough then and the current reporting of the need for nearly 90 social a workers also misses a very important and as yet unanswered question.
The question is why haven’t those responsible, in simple terms the Cabinet Members of the County Council been held responsible and accountable for their incompetence and negligence?
Surely someone has to be held responsible for the unnecessary and untimely deaths of five children have to be taken into account.
This wasn’t the fault of a single Councillor who took the policy decision to cut funding and staffing in the Child Protection Services but the collective decision by the Conservative Cabinet members when setting their budgets.
It was a collective responsibility from which the other members of the Cabinet have divorced themselves and who have remained disgracefully silent.
The cuts in the Child Protection services were accompanied by cuts in services supporting the vulnerable such as the elderly, those with mental health issues, teenage mothers, and help for the homeless and other front line services.
All of which Northampton Labour warned would lead to where we find ourselves today and all warnings that the Northampton Conservatives in their arrogance ignored.
There are also others within the administration and organisation that should be held accountable.
Those who were acting in the role of political advisor to the Leader of the Council and his Cabinet and who was presumably at the taxpayers’ expense advising on policy, budgets and how to spin it all as a success.
This is an issue that will continue to resonate across the County and especially Northampton whose vulnerable children have been so badly let down.
It is amazing that the very Councillors responsible for the cuts that led to the neglect of our children felt it appropriate to award themselves a 27% increase in allowances because of the pressure of work in being a Councillor.
Am I the only one who thinks that if they had any moral compass whatsoever they would have resigned?
They are people who if they had a shred of decency would accept responsibility both individually and collectively for their failure to protect our children and resign.
They have failed the basic requirement that of being able to be TRUSTED and the only way the Chronicle and Echo headline of “Don’t Fail Them Again” can be guaranteed is if those responsible GO and GO NOW.
They should be replaced by people who really can be trusted not only to make the right policy decisions that will ensure that children and the vulnerable will be provided with a service that keeps them safe from institutional neglect, but also to support the new incoming social workers.
The reality of course is that they will continue to blame others, continue to take taxpayers money and continue to fail to deliver the services to the most vulnerable for which tax payers pay their taxes.
Almost 90 children’s social worker jobs need to be filled in Northamptonshire – Local – Northampton Chronicle and Echo.