Sunday, December 17, 2006

Politics first, child protection second?

Amongst the questions and responses from the last Council meeting (we won't call them answers because they would require.... well answers). there was a question about the failure of IT and the Document Management system.

Tory councillor, Alex Wilson stated that it was his understanding that "the child protection department was also affected" by the failure. He went on to ask "how many child protection cases were delayed or otherwise impacted by this problem?" In the response from the Deputy Leader, Cllr Cornforth, this question was totally ignored. There was not even an attempt to answer it.

Given the implications in the question we would've thought the Council would at least make the point of denying that there was an impact to child protection cases. Could it be that, like the Sunday People reported, child protection cases were significantly impacted? Could it be that the question was ignored to avoid further political embarassment to the Council?


Blogger Indigo said...

The thing that disturbs me about this is that this is not the first time that Greenwich Council's Chief Executive has been associated with an organisation that failed to protect children at risk. Barely 7 years ago, Mary Ney was director of social services, London Borough of Harrow, when that council failed to prevent the death of little Aliyah Ismail.

Mary Ney is/was also a member of the Strategic Partnering Taskforce Partnership Hub. This Taskforce produced a report in March 2004 that talks about Strategic Service-delivery Partnerships "achieving improved services" and of the importance of "an open and transparent approach to governance arrangements". Neither of which seems to describe Greenwich Council.

The foreword to the report is by the Minister for Local and Regional Government - the Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP - who concludes by saying that the SPT initiative "is a means to a common end - innovative, higher quality and more responsive public services that local people have a right to expect and enjoy". Except the people of Greenwich, as it has turned out.

8:58 pm  
Blogger Indigo said...

From the A New Settlement for London, February 2006, Minutes of Evidence volume 2, pp 270 271, it would appear that Mary Ney has forgotten what happened in Harrow.

Mary Ney (Chief Executive, London Borough of Greenwich, Member, CELC): I think that the way out of it is protocols, which actually in the 1990s, I think we used to be quite strong on, ... I was a Director of Social Services and Housing then and there were some quite strict rules that people used to adhere to, and that sounds to me like a failure of us to keep up to date, perhaps, with the sort of strict protocols that we should have in place. Regardless of a council’s individual legal position, you actually take a collective responsibility about a young person ... so we do not get people who are falling through the gaps."

Mary Ney (Chief Executive, London Borough of Greenwich, Member, CELC): The protocols should make you care for the individual while you have your argument in another place.

Who said actions speak louder than words? Except in Greenwich.

9:04 pm  

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