A review published in February that exposes mis-management by the LibDem Guildhall Administration in the protection of vulnerable children has led Coombe Vale councillors to demand the resignation of Cllr Bamford, responsible for Children and Young People, and also for Cllr Osborne, the Lib-Dem Council Leader to go.
The problems in Kingston are were so bad that Government intervention was necessary.
Further discloures about Kingston's problems with child protection are expected to reveal that a child was left at significant risk during a period of domestic violence which led to homicide.
Serious Case Reviews are undertaken learn lessons, but the expression ‘lessons learnt’ is hollow unless action is taken resulting in sustained improvement
says Cllr Lynne Finnerty. Reviews in 2006 and 2008 highlighted problems in sharing information between agencies and called for more training. In 2010 Cllr Bamford felt confident that ‘all procedures had been upgraded’, but 2012, Ofsted was still demanding that action be taken.
As Lead Member responsible for Children's Safeguarding, Cllr. Bamford is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the warnings from these reviews were followed up, but admitted that she was ‘still bemused as to where we got to’. But, as Cllr Finnerty pointed out:
Lead Members receive a special responsibility allowance. With that, comes accountability. Why did she fail to challenge the Children's Safguarding team and its former Director from her uniquely well-placed position?
Guldhall guidelines state that the Council Leader should support Lead Members and hold them to account. As Cllr Finnerty points out, this latest review reveals Cllr Osborne’s many missed opportunities to intervene.
Cllr. Osbourne has stated he’s worried a continuing negative political debate will have an adverse affect on Kingston’s ability to retain quality staff. We offer a solution, resign. By clinging on, both are putting their personal positions before the interests of children & young people.
Ofsted identified 22 local authorities, including Kingston, that were having problems protecting children, but what is alarming in Kingston’s case is that the administration was surprised by the issues Ofstead raised. In many of the other councils, the Lead Member has resigned.
Why in Kingston’s case was it the Director who ‘moved on’, and not the Lead Member, Cllr Bamford?
Cllr. Julie Pickering asks.
What has emerged over the last few months is a clear difference in the quality of managing change between Kingston and Richmond, and how Richmond works in a multifaceted business-like approach.