Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Kent council has made public in a well publicised move the release of the independent report "Children’s Services Improvement Plan" giving a candid assessment of Kent Children services. A cynic might think this was a managed PR event, by Kent Council diverting attention.
What we don't have is any explanation of how things got into such a deplorable state, BBC South East Today news programme, tonight employed more resources than is usual in reporting such matters, with reporter Simon Jones and Louise Stewart, sadly neither thought to ask the question, how did this happen?
Paul Francis ( political editor) for Kent Messenger group in this report also did not feel it necessary to remind readers that we still don't know why Kent Children services became so run down, although in fairness the most revealing insight can be found in this earlier article by Paul Francis, which I strongly urge you read.
Whilst it's correct to have release this report, KCC would gain some respect and be performing its public service obligations were to issue a report explaining of what went wrong, this report has not given much more information than had already been placed in the public domain.
Since Kent Council appears not to have a desire to learn from their mistakes or acknowledge them, the public is left to guess at what went wrong, it would difficult not to make the assumption that poor management is the sole cause, certainly nobody is blaming hard pressed front line staff, so we are left conclude was it the politicians, officers or both?
I leave you to sort the bones out of these two conflicting quotes concerning the child care crisis, firstly Peter Gilroy the former Kent Council Chief Exec "When I raised my concerns, that was in 2009 when we did a report and even then I was starting to worry about a whole range of things that were happening. and from Cllr Paul Carter Leader of Kent Council "How Peter can say ‘Not me Gov’ I find quite astonishing. adding "I think that he’s been very economical with the facts. Peter and I had some concerns at the end of 2008-09 and asked for an independent report to be carried out.
PS I always thought Paul and Peter were singing from the same hymn sheet, perhaps I was wrong? we all make mistakes
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
The Airfix Air Show for Sunday 19 June
The Entertainment for Sunday 19 June
- 11.00 am KD JazzThis band has its roots in the music of the 20's, 30's and 40's presenting a snappy brand of 'good time' music. All the musicians have a wealth of experience behind them ranging from West End shows to film soundtracks, classical concerts and jazz festivals.
- 12.00 pm DJ
- 12.15 pm KD Jazz
- 1.00 pm DJ
- 1.30 pm HullabalooHullabaloo is an outstandingly talented and hugely popular Jazz, Jive and Swing band with a wealth of professional experience performing in the UK and overseas, and an impressive list of clients. With a unique male vocalist, wonderful harmonies and impeccable timing, theirs is a truly impressive sound. Unique (and occasionally humorous) arrangements of well-known tunes ensures that they never fail to entertain.
- 2.15 pm DJ
- 2.45 pm Hullabaloo
- 3.30 pm Flying Show
- 5.30 pm DJ
If you have a mobile phone, you can view these pages in a mobile version without all the claptrap, which will allow you to view this brief guide of whats on at the event, since there appeared to be no programme available at the event. Enjoy
- 11.00 am ATC Band.2433 (Ramsgate) Squadron Air Training Corps
- 12.00 pm DJ
- 12.15 pm The Whittlers:The Whittlers are quickly becoming one of the busiest entertainment artists on the UK music scene. All of the band are professional musicians, and have a mass of experience ranging from European tours, weddings and corporate events. This young, but heavily experienced band will provide an amazing party experience playing a mixture of Pop, Soul, Rock and Chart Music, ranging from the 60's right up to the present day.
- 1.00 pm DJ
- 1.15 pm The Whittler
- 2.00 pm DJ
- 2.30 pm Marylebone JellyA class act, Marylebone Jelly is an experienced five-piece live band with a repertoire that covers the best and classic hits from the last five decades
- 3.30 pm Flying Show
- 5.30 pm DJ
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
One of my readers pointed out this gem, a letter penned by Tory County Councillor Jenny Whittle (referring to the failure in child care) in this weeks "Kent on Sunday" clearly stating the flippin obvious "May I, in the strongest terms refute the suggestion that social workers are somehow taking the blame for the failings identified in last November's Ofsted inspection" of course you can, nobody in their right mind is going to criticise you for that or blame frontline staff.
Still here is where some of us at least would start to separate their agreement with Jenny's thoughts, when she states "I have been candid about what went wrong" and this is why Paul Carter, Tory Leader and presumably Jenny Whittle's boss, as I understand promised a review into what went wrong, which has yet to surface.
Recently watching Jenny Whittle and Chris Wells respond to a KCC cabinet scrutiny committee, they seemed fully content to and of course this is just my opinion, evade the questions on whether we would ever see a review or not into how Kent child services allowed several hundred children to be at risk.
Most of us, are, after all frontline staff, in whatever sphere, we work, and we appreciate that frontline social workers were in no way responsible for child care failings, still that aside, what we, most of us, understand is this, almost certainly the poor state of child care services must have resulted from management failings and not from some mechanical failure like the photocopier jamming. Since Jenny has been candid she says, so how come none of us, who after all pay the bills, are the wiser.
Jenny Whittle and her Conservative colleagues surely can't have it both ways, either they are candid or they are concealing the root cause, which is not only important to Kent council so that they know what went wrong and don't repeat the same mistakes but more importantly vulnerable children are more important than Kent council's public image.
Incidentally I've emailed Chris Wells an occasional contributor, to Bignews Margate to enquire how vociferous his support for a lack of a proper review into events is, assuming he supports the veil of secrecy that appears to have settled over things, hopefully I got that wrong.
Remember this wasn't like losing 50 million pounds to the Icelandic banks, this isn't about Kent Conservatives "losing face" this is concerned with how we look after the most vulnerable in society.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
In my case despite being hampered by a lack of ability and a poor education as provided by Kent Council, I still have an urge to express myself and question how and why things happen.
Now if you take a gander at the preceding post, you'll see there is a bit of a kerfuffle concerning a rather dubious cost cutting measure which involves TDC deciding not to send me and my ilk anymore emails from their Press Office, also should I be cheeky enough to ask for information, they will be rather silly and treat these as Freedom Of Information FOI requests.
Now the reason given was cost cutting, and of course, this has probably worried up a lot correspondence including the rather pointless email, which kicked this off, which has cost more money than had they not bothered.
Still never one to resist the urge to look in command and fully briefed, along comes Cllr Simon Moores, who of course cannot also resist the urge to look mature and grown up, arguing fiercely for what many would consider a repressive and ultimately doomed move.
Simons latest blog posting I view as a Daily Mail sort of style, innuendo, twaddle and codswallop he opens with this broadside "Overnight I see that two of our better known local weblogs or should I say 'surviving' bloggers are making a fuss..." OH Gosh! (Me)
He loads more ammo "Thanet Online to announce " A war on prominent Blogs" and Big News* Margate to howl 'conspiracy' from the rooftops, with his dramatic headline 'Thanet council discriminates against free press." NO Please Stop (Me)
Relentlessly he pushes home his attack "It's all a bit pathetic really! I" Ouch that really hurt! ( Me)
Moores without mercy throws caution to the wind and goes for the throat "...at least two of the more popular (referring to weblogs), believe that they should receive special treatment and be regarded on the same basis as the Thanet Gazette or the BBC with a right to pester the council press team for information but without having to abide by the same news protocols and code of conduct that governs the press.
I just hope Moores doesn't think he is referring to me, which I take to be inferred in that last comment, because clearly he is mistaken, I just expect to be treated equally, my readers of whom he is one, pay their taxes and expect accountability and don't expect to be excluded.
If councillor Moores is suggesting that I intend to pester the council press team, I considered that a gross insult and expect him to clarify or withdrawn his rude comment and adhere to codes of conduct he so frequently refers.
Finally Bloggers are subject to the law as much as any newspaper or media outlet.
PS All this is a distraction, there are bigger fish to fry, and in defence of those frontline officers who are committed to a public service ethos, information will naturally flow, currently Tesco is on the agenda tomorrow so lets hope the council gets it right and protects local interests, KCC still have to confirm the state of the review in to the Child Services failure and of course this weekend is the Big Event Yippee!
*Simon It's Bignews Margate (still was that one of your professions Teaching) it's at the top of the page, tut. tut.
Monday, June 13, 2011
TDC Press Release Mailing List
As you will no doubt be aware, local government in line with the rest of the public sector, is experiencing tough times and resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Thanet District Council is no exception to this. As a result, the council has been looking carefully at how all its resources are used. Following a review of the service offered by the council's Press Office, it has been agreed that we will be changing our approach in the future to concentrate our resources on the mainstream media.
We are contacting you as you are on the council's current mailing list for press releases. This was set up some time ago, when the e-mail list was the only way to subscribe to receive the council's press releases. This is no longer the case, as the council now has an RSS news feed available for people to sign up to as well as regular updates to press releases published on the TDC Website. Since the RSS feed was first introduced, we have been pointing people towards this and the website, rather than adding them to our e-mail group for press releases.
In light of this, we have reviewed the people that our press releases are being distributed to and, with the availability of RSS feeds, we are now reducing this list to cover mainstream newspapers, radio and TV only, in line with our new approach. As a result, we will be shortly removing you from the press release mailing list.
If you would like to continue to receive our press releases, you can subscribe to our RSS news feed by visiting: http://www.thanet.gov.uk/feeds/tdcnews.aspx
For any additional help with how to do this, please visit: http://www.thanet.gov.uk/advice__benefits/help_using_this_website/RSS_Feeds.aspx
Our latest press releases can all be found at:
If you have any requests for information in the future, please could you send these through firstname.lastname@example.org as any enquiries sent through to the press office in the future will be sent on to this address for actioning.
Corporate Information & Communications Manager
Thanet District Council
PS I thought I'd check this out, the ensuing phone call took around 18 minutes, a call that would not have taken place or wasted "officer time" were the council not being so petty!
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Over the years I've been writing this blog, one fairly strong theme has been, Kent County Councils apparent obsession with moulding public image, perhaps the most dangerous manifestation of this, has been the claims made by the council of "excellence" and reference to being a 4 star council, a meaningless term to many of us.
Last year Ofsted alerted KCC in November to the dire state of its inadequate childcare provision which exposed 2,000 children to significant risk, Conservative leader of the council Paul Carter shortly afterwards said their would be a review.
At the request of members of the KCC Cabinet Scrutiny committee the question was asked, by the committee chair Trudy Dean Lib Dem, basically what's happening re the review, well Paul Carter had apparently made his excuses and did not attend the meeting and Jenny Whittle (Con), cabinet member of children's services didn't seem keen on reviewing how things got so bad, nor did former cabinet member Chris Wells (Con).
Blame is an inflammatory term, and unfortunately it has surfaced in reference to what to my mind is a simple review, into finding out how KCC slid into such a dire state and if necessary pointing out who is responsible.
Of course things have improved, and Jenny Whittle and Chris Wells are right look to the future and concentrate on making the improvement, however Trudy Dean is also right to represent her fellow councillors who irrespective of party affiliations understand that knowing how an "excellent" council could risk our most vulnerable is not an unreasonable request which might prevent similar errors in the future.
Finally a reference to "politics" was unnecessary, accepting that the subject is emotive. its still my view that children deserve better than middle-aged men and women point scouring on such a serious issue. Kent Council is not run purely for the pompous self opinionated councillors, some of us are stupid enough to still believe, in public services.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
I've got to give up reading the papers and watching the news I'm convinced that the constant exposure to bad news, cannot be good for me or indeed any of us, I'm sure life at one time life was simpler, a "suspected" mass murder/war criminal, such as Ratko Mladic was just that, these days we have to endure the preposterous pleading by relatives, that someone who could apparently order the mass killing of 8000 in Srebrenica, is too dainty to face a court inquisition or the chance to explain himself.
With that on my mind I thought I had to avoid the evening news and having spent more time wrestling with my bicycle's gears and brakes recently, than riding the flipping thing, I got my bike on the road late this afternoon so cycled along the front and past the new gallery, ending up on the Harbour Arm.
Usually there is something to be seen in the units, and today was no exception, half way along is a gallery space with an exhibition of contemporary images the work of local Artists Brian Moody ( freelance photographer whose work has mostly appeared in Magazines such as the Observer, Sunday Times) & Denis Smith ( artist and photographer who has worked as an art director for top ad agencies such as Saatchi's).
Anyhoo the exhibition has lifted my mood, as did the sunshine, and the only bit of news I caught earlier in the day that Turner Contemporary has so far attracted 100,000 visitors since opening, despite the pervasive negativity from Thanet's darker corners.
Obviously not everyone's the same, but without the TC gallery other local galleries might not exist and if you can't find something to your taste, I feel you must be in a bad way. As a keen photographer with a library of iPhone masterpieces I can tell the difference between my feeble efforts and professional and would recommend you take gander at show and see for yourself.