Speech on the Council's shocking Ofsted review
19/09/2017 16:03:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
Last night I spoke in an Extraordinary Council Meeting about Labour's shocking dereliction of their most basic duty: keeping our most vulnerable chilren safe. You can read all about it online.
My speech starts about 29 minutes in, or you can read the transcript below.
'Thank you Madam Mayor. who is running this Council?
Cllr Newman is the Leader. Cllr Flemming is the lead councillor for children and social services. Both senior leaders in the Council. It’s not unreasonable to infer that when voters elected them they expected it to be them running the Council.
And yet on this shocking Ofsted report it’s apparently everyone’s fault but theirs. ‘It’s the Officers, they didn’t tell us’ – cried Cllr Newman on the radio last week.
Ofsted say that the service is inadequate on three damning counts. Worse than the scandal in Birmingham 18 months ago: ‘The local authority [THAT’S YOU] is too slow to take action, this means that some children are left in harmful situations for too long…’; ‘senior leaders [THAT’S ALSO YOU] know that services need to be better, but they have taken too long to take action to improve them’.
What do Cllrs Newman and Flemming say to that? ‘It’s not our fault Guv’!
Well then whose is it? Madam Mayor, who is running this Council?
Ofsted say they knew and did precious little about it. They have the gall to stand in this chamber and pretend that it’s not their responsibility – putting their fingers in their ears and hoping it all just goes away. Those children you’re neglecting try that trick councillor, but for them it doesn’t just go away.
You’re elected to be the Leader, the most senior member of this administration. But when Ofsted say ‘senior leaders’ are at fault conveniently that doesn’t apply to Cllr Newman or Cllr Flemming.
Lightning-quick to take credit when things go well, they run for the hills when the going gets tough. Is this Leadership?
Ofsted say the fault is yours. That’s not up for debate. Either you are the Leader of this Council, in which case Ofsted say you knew and are guilty of a shameful dereliction of your duties OR you aren’t running the Council, you didn’t know about it, in which case we have to ask: what’s the point of you being here at all? What on earth are Croydon taxpayers paying your salary for?
Whatever way you cut it, a change of leadership, the resignation of both Cllrs Newman and Flemming, is the only way that we can start to move past this tragic situation and begin to sort out this crisis.
I get that it’s tough to take responsibility when you’ve messed up. It’s not easy to be principled and have a backbone. And yet I hope you do the honourable thing councillors. The right thing for these vulnerable children, is to take ownership of your mistakes, stand aside and let one of your colleagues take the helm.
I come back to my original question, Madam Mayor: who is running this Council? Because if it is this Leader, then it’s high time we got a new one.'