Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kent Council - The question that lingers - Kent's Child services what went wrong?

I recollect from many years ago a phrase which once had real meaning " my word is my bond " from a time before it was common practice to be economical with the truth and for everyone in public life and business to "spin" just about every statement or policy.
Obviously many younger readers will be completely oblivious to this phrase and its meaning as will senior practitioners of  politics, so for the unfamiliar "my word" refers to a promise or commitment and "is my bond" meaning a personal guarantee and commitment.
This undertaking and acknowledgement of accountability originated with traders on the London commercial markets and was accepted as a standard throughout business and life in general.
Still life's moved on in the political and business world, seemingly dominated by slick PR wallahs and chancers' as personified bankers and business leaders with a new set of values, hopefully such a perceived of lowering of standards does not effect us here in Kent.
Is any of the above relevant, to the continuing question as yet unanswered as why child services were found to be so inadequate.
Despite  Leader of KCC Paul Carter's non appearance at the recent KCC Scrutiny committee, we still don't know for a fact, whether Kent council is going deliver a proper review or not.
In the meantime here are a few words from Paul Carter concerning the dreadful circumstances resulting in Kent's children at risk
November 2010 "My energies and those of my Cabinet will be absolutely focused on supporting and challenging everybody involved to put right any shortcomings and weaknesses that have been identified by the Ofsted inspection. Paul Carter
December 2010 "What are we going to do now? Well, we have to make sure our scrutiny role is rigorous and this doesn't happen again. Paul Carter
So what does this all mean, hopefully that a full and proper public explanation as to how an "excellent" council, could mess up a vital child service provision.
Without such a review, we're left with speculation and rumour, and in some quarters the suspicion that, a review has not been undertaken for political expediency. My own view is .....  well irrelevant until we get the facts.


  1. Lets be honest here, the 'post mortem' wont appear. The silence speaks for itself in that respect. If the report existed, then the attitude wouldnt have been there on that webcast.

    The issue isnt about the Scrutiny Committees powers but whether the administration is willing to cooperate with it. I think the 1st June meeting was important in some respects by clearing away some of the confusion and miscommunication that had happened. The Cabinet agreed new changes in May and we now have the Improvement Report. I would also add that West Sussex also scored a 1 in January so Kent is not alone.

    Its not that we shouldnt be holding them to account but its about not overdoing it. Weve made our point and thats good. Now we should wait to see what happens. I cant see the Scrutiny Committee not keeping a close eye on it.

  2. Tony, Kent council will go to some lengths to hide the truth, if it's a choice of looking after the public or looking after business b

  3. Tony, Paul Carter is too busy crowing about turner or going to central government with his begging bowl to get funds to improve his train set/toy airport.

    He has put so much time and energy of his council into vanity projects while the services looking after our most vulnerable have been left to fail.

    To stop something happening again, you have to get to root cause. That involves a full investigation. If he doesn't do it, he's not doing his job properly and should be removed from office.

  4. I see many ads for Social Workers in Kent with attractive start up payments and substantial salary increases, all at a time when elsewhere it is difficult to get a pay rise. Presumably someone is doing something to address a shortfall here which is presumably part of the problem.

    Of course there will be those who, for political purposes, will continue to claim that KCC are ignoring the issue whilst looking after business. Such coming from those who support the party who, when given the chance to govern, generally stuffed it and us in the process.

  5. Fat pay packets fat bonuses and fat chance anyone at KCC will fess up to endangering children.

    These people care more about money than anything else.

  6. I'm afraid the tentacles of global corporate governance reach into every aspect of our lives, even here in Kent, and especially within the KCC and social services, hence the generous pay rates and unfathomable policies.

    Alan Watt can give you a crash masters degree in this nefarious scourge.

  7. God you lot could give thanetonline a run for his money when it comes to conspiracy theoiries. I'm surprised retired hasn't tried linking this to private armies
    If this particular faction of the sit-on-the-fence-and-dream-impossible-dreams party can't get over the recent elections then they'd better do what their founders did and form another party
    My word is my bond. Bollocks. Tell that to next years students

  8. Ogmios I don't think I'm quite In the bonkers niche of bloggers who believe in conspiracy and from time to time have deleted comments from the likes of retired as he IMHO tends to kill the flow of conversation.

    Within reason I welcome all sorts, so long as people aren't too boring including your own rambling contribution.

    And as alien as it seems, I for one still believe saying what I mean, even though its out of fashion and potentially dangerous to upset Kent's establishment.

    As has been my past experience, presumably one reason you don't have the balls to identify yourself.

    And just briefly coming back to the topic, Paul Carter may still surprise us and produce a proper review of how things went wrong.

  9. Better remove your head from your backside Ogmios, this country is about as democratic as North Korea.

  10. Presumably all the "anonymous"s above are fully masculine, presumably because they all agree with you. And you also make the normal male mistake of assuming that no female could possibly intrude into your cosy little blog.

  11. No got anthing good to say about KCC? Believe me it could be a whole lot worse. I think KCC dont do to bad a job. I a delighted with the Turner Centre and I would love to see the Airport do a lot better and if that involves a new Parkway station all the better. I would vote for Manston's expansion over Boris's Island anyday. As for cover up I dont know enough about it but several other area's historicly are far worse than Kent when it come to childrens services.

  12. Writting a letter to Kent on Sunday, cllr Whittle, cabinet member for children, writes that people have been blaming front line services. How out of touch she is with the general public who believe that the fault lies with the elected policy makers like herself and with current and past senior KCC executives.

  13. I could discuss tuition fees with you Ogmios, but it would be like talking to a brick wall so I won't bother.

    Apart from that it is off topic.

  14. Ogmios I made no intentional sexist remark you must be picking up on my reference to "balls" which I can assure you were entirely metaphorical, I think Mrs T was often credited with having "balls" ie the guts to do, what she thought right, but which proved wrong to the rational.

    Don it seems that once again you have got it wrong, I have had good things to say about several things involving KCC including Turner and the Manston Parkway etc., it is a pity you cannot be more objective,
    Kent councils failing ought to be explained and properly accounted for.

    paste this into your browser Don

    and then you might not be so complacent.

  15. Anon 6.31am

    Of course she's out of touch with what the general public think ,she's paid extremely well to be so. Obviously having worked closely with ‘Lord Carter’ would have been good training. Does make one wonder what would have happened if he didnt give her a 'personal' reference for the Conservative selection process for probably the safest seat in the country ?

    “Jenny Whittle was employed by KCC from August 2005 until January 2009.
    Her initial role was as Staff Officer to the Cabinet Members for
    Education, when Mr Carter was one of those Cabinet Members, and she
    subsequently became the Leader's Staff Officer, three months after Mr Carter was elected to that post. She resigned from KCC less than 24 hours after becoming the Candidate, following the legal requirements as contained in the County Council's constitution.

    Paul Carter did not provide any reference in his capacity as Leader of Kent County Council.”

    And moving on …..

    “if Paul Carter did provide Ms Whittle
    with a reference, it was not in his capacity as Leader of the Council.

    However, even though there is no obligation to do so, I have asked the Leader to comment on your request. In order to satisfy public interest and accountability, he confirms that as President of Faversham & Mid Kent Conservative Association, he did provide Ms Whittle with a reference.”

    Raises the issue of exactly when he gave her this reference, was it immediately after work and what time was her selection appointment; either way she must have felt extremely confident in being selected !