Monday, December 01, 2008

Baby P: The incompetence of Haringey Council was always the story

Ed Balls today received the report on children's services in Haringey this morning. You can read the full text of his statement on the Independent website.

As a result of the report's contents, George Meehan, the leader of Haringey Council, and Liz Santry the cabinet member for children and young people, have both resigned. Sharon Shoesmith has been removed from her post as director of children's services and five other members of staff connected with those services in Haringey have been suspended or are under review.

Lynne Featherstone writes:
So - the report finds Haringey Council guilty - and then some. I have never seen such a damning and devastating criticism of an authority as this litany of failure - both systemic and personal, and at every level and more or less in every agency. But particularly singled out for special damnation - Haringey Council.
And this has been the story here all along: the fact that Haringey Council is no good at protecting children. Those bloggers who thought the real villain here were David Cameron or the press, or thought that the whole affair was simply to ghastly to mention, mystify me.

Lynne also says:

As to the resignations of George Meehan and Liz Santry - it's a shame it took until they publicly had nowhere to go in the face of such extreme criticism before they finally acknowledged their responsibility.

And none of this sadly goes to the heart of the rotten culture in Haringey which is secretive, arrogant, rank-closing and abuses power. Lord knows I have been shouting this from rooftops for long enough. Now at least I have Ed Balls and the Government shouting the same thing with me!

It is this culture that is at the heart of the political debate over the death of Peter - to give Baby P his real name.

Over at the dear old Guardian, Patrick Butler does his best to rally the troops by writing of Sharon Shoesmith:

A journalist who met her two years ago, shortly after she had taken up her current role, recalls her as appearing relaxed, confident and competent, with a clear understanding of the wider children's policy agenda ...

Shoesmith, 55, appears widely respected among her peers in Haringey: an open letter signed by 61 primary and secondary school headteachers in the north London borough last month called her an "outstanding public servant" who had in her previous role revitalised Haringey's once embarrassing and demoralised education service. It said: "Should the Child P case result in her loss from the borough, then our children and young people will lose one of their most effective, determined and committed champions."

Surely, all that does is make you worry about the judgement of headteachers in Haringey?

Later. See this Lib Dem Voice story about Haringey's chief executive too.

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

Well done to Lynne.