At Thursday’s council meeting Sefton Council will be discussing Children’s Social Services, following a notice of motion submitted by Conservative Group Leader, Mike Prendergast.
The department has recently received a further, critical, OFSTED report, which highlights that many of the same problems identified previously, are still occurring and children in Sefton, remain at risk.
The motion proposes that opposition members take control of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee for the service.
Councillor Prendergast said:
It’s hugely disappointing that the most recent report from OFSTED is still highly critical and quite clearly points out that changes aren’t happening fast enough.
One of the biggest political failings we have in Sefton, is that the Labour Group are in charge of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Children’s Services. This committee is supposed to hold council officers and cabinet members to account and try to ensure that the service is running effectively and improving at the pace which is necessary.
Having sat on this committee for nearly 2 years, it’s clear to me that it’s failing. It’s run by Labour members and it’s failed in its role in providing oversight and scrutiny and helping Sefton deliver an effective Children’s Social Services department.
I have repeatedly called for this committee to be chaired and run by opposition members, but this has been rejected by the Labour administration.
We shouldn’t have a situation where a Labour administration has been criticised for failing to deliver a service, but then at the same time is in charge of running the committee supposed to hold the ruling executive to account.
Labour should not be marking their own homework.
This isn’t workable and it’s adding to the problem. The secrecy and lack of transparency that the ruling Labour Group have encouraged, over the last decade, is now a big part of the problem.
The entire culture within the department, at a management level and political leadership level, needs to change. The sad fact is, this is not happening fast enough and vulnerable children in Sefton are still at risk as a result.
We are at a point where we in the Conservative group are calling for government commissioners to step in and take control of the service as it’s clear that the current Labour leadership of the council cannot improve things and are still leaving vulnerable children at risk.
The Labour leaders in Sefton need to consider their positions carefully and ask themselves, are they the right people for the job and can they actually improve things for the most vulnerable children in Sefton.
We don’t think they can and that the time has now come for the Labour Leader of Sefton Council to resign because of the ongoing failings and the continued risks to the most vulnerable children in Sefton, all under his leadership.
There needs to be some accountability and someone accepting responsibility for the failings.