Note to readers the following press release is reproduced here to give some balance, concerning the recent perilous state of Kent's child services, regular and fair minded readers will acknowledge that I don't slavishly promote a single political view, indeed ironic as it is, one councillor has resorted to abuse and fiction, having been a "guest" poster on this site on more than one occasion.
Anyway I thought reading this, it gives some perspective, to the onslaught of public relations and bluster coming from conservatives in the county, as they have failed to address the route cause of this failure.
Kent had "Haringey" levels of vacancies in Childrens Social Services
Trudy Dean: "The system that allowed this tragedy to happen still exists. We must change it."
Liberal Democrats at County Hall have renewed their calls for an inquiry into the failure of services to children in care in Kent. Trudy Dean (Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition) revealed for the first time that data about vacancy levels in Kent were known to be at high risk well before an unannounced inspection by OFSTED resulted in a critical report.
At the Full county Council meeting on 9th February, Trudy gave County Councillors statistics revealing social worker vacancies as early as 2008 were across the county awash with red - indicating a level of high risk. Throughout 2009 over half of the county social work teams had vacancy rates of over 25% - worse than in Haringey where Peter Connelly 'Baby P' died in 2007.
Trudy Dean said:
"In Ashford, Swale, Dartford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells rates were over 25% throughout the majority of the year. In Thanet rates were over 25% throughout the entire year. In Dartford vacancy rates were exceeding 40% over four consecutive months.
"I cannot believe Members given these figures would have failed to take the necessary action to fill these vacancies in 2008 - as we did when OFSTED blew the lid off this two years later!"
"This information was all available in KCC, but was never shared with councillors. I also understand it was never shared with the senior departmental management teams."
"So who did see it? Why it was not revealed? Why was KCC told in April 2010 that Children Social Services was 'coping' and that there were no concerns about professional standards. When only four months later (August 2010) OFSTED disagreed. Since then, under new staff, we have spent £14M this year and will spend another £7M next year bringing our services up to standard.
"But the system that allowed this tragedy to happen still exists. We must change it."
Trudy called for an inquiry into how it happened and an external inquiry since many of the individuals involved have left KCC.
"I want a clause in all officers' contracts to oblige them to reveal information which councillors need to do their job properly. If we take this simple step we will ensure these failures do not occur again - because the human cost of failure was borne by 2,600 of Kent's' children who were potentially at risk of serious harm"