MPs want fast ac­tion for ser­vice

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

long-stand­ing di­rec­tor of chil­dren’s ser­vices, Ali­son O’Sul­li­van, be­came na­tional vice-pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Di­rec­tors of Chil­dren’s Ser­vices and lost lo­cal fo­cus at a time where there were added re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for the role.

Mrs Brazil said se­nior man­agers should have be­come aware of the prob­lems earlier and lacked ad­e­quate “qual­ity as­sur­ance sys­tems.”

The Of­sted re­port de­scribed a “poor” ser­vice that left chil­dren po­ten­tially at risk.

In her con­clu­sion Mrs Brazil said: “Kirklees had un­der­taken di­ag­nos­tic work in late 2015 and at the be­gin­ning of 2016 and had a good sense of the prob­lems in the ser­vice, but not nec­es­sar­ily the ex­tent of them.

“Nor did they have the level of ex­per­tise in im­prov­ing chil­dren’s so­cial care ser­vices at lead­er­ship level to cre­ate a co­her­ent, well co-or­di­nated im­prove­ment pro­gramme to ad­dress the qual­ity of prac­tice is­sues in a timely and ef­fec­tive way.”

Mrs Brazil or­dered that Kirklees link up with Leeds City Coun­cil and that the Leeds di­rec­tor of so­cial ser­vices take over­all con­trol. Steve Walker is the now the di­rec­tor of chil­dren’s ser­vices for both Kirklees and Leeds.

Colne Val­ley Labour MP Thelma Walker said she was “deeply con­cerned” at how vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren had been let down – and said she would be hold­ing coun­cil leader David Sheard and new chief ex­ec­u­tive Jac­qui Ged­man “to ac­count”.

In a state­ment she said: “The com­mis­sioner’s re­port has shown that Kirklees Coun­cil does not have the ca­pac­ity to deal with the is­sues alone, how­ever I am en­cour­aged that they will be work­ing with Leeds City Coun­cil as Na­tional Part­ners in Prac­tice to make sure that ev­ery child is helped and pro­tected.

“The re­port does high­light ar­eas of con­tin­ued con­cern, but I am re­as­sured that the di­rec­tion in which the coun­cil is mov­ing is pos­i­tive.

“I have a meet­ing ar­ranged with the leader and the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Kirklees Coun­cil to dis­cuss th­ese is­sues, and I will be hold­ing them to ac­count. I have been as­sured that no child has been harmed through the fail­ings of Kirklees Coun­cil.”

Bat­ley and Spen Labour MP Tracy Bra­bin also said she was “deeply con­cerned” and added: “For any child to go un­pro­tected, or not to have their needs met, is un­ac­cept­able.

“I wel­come the re­port and the news that Leeds City Coun­cil will work in part­ner­ship with Kirklees in or­der to im­prove the ser­vice.

“I am clear that there should be no de­lay in rapidly im­prov­ing lo­cal chil­dren’s ser­vices. That’s why I have sought an ur­gent meet­ing with the lead­ers of Kirklees and Leeds coun­cils, to dis­cuss their plans go­ing for­ward.”

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