The death of two Northamptonshire children is truly heartbreaking; devastating tragedies that never should have happened. The serious case review highlighted poor decision making on the part of Children’s Social Services and a lack of communication between agencies which lead to missed opportunities to save these innocent souls. My heart goes out to the grieving families.
It has been widely reported that at the time of these tragedies children services was experiencing an inability to retain, recruit and support staff, creating high staff turnover and sickness. This added to findings from previous Ofsted’s which reported that staff were “overwhelmed and drowning under the pressure of rising demand and juggling case loads of 30-50 children” demonstrates the service was in chaos. Senior management, leadership and politicians should have been urgently addressing these issues, instead they made change after change without staff consultation which created confusion and further plummeting morale.
Recent reports have indicated that social workers are being disciplined and if disciplinary action is required then the process most certainly be carried out. However Cllr Golby has to take responsibility and must also be held accountable for his poor leadership. It is not a question of should he resign, it is a must for failing to meet his public office responsibilities to the children and families of Northamptonshire. It is about time people in public office had the courage to take responsibility for their actions and the services they have leadership oversight of.
Plans by the Government to privatise the County’s children’s services must be scrapped in favour of robust public governance. The Council’s failings include a lack of ownership, communication and transparency. These will not be corrected by moving to a third party Trust, they can only be corrected by a change of culture in the County Council which requires a change of leadership