The Disgrace of Conservative-Run Surrey County Council

Posted: March 12, 2009 in Liberal Democrats
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Tory Failure in Surrey

Mike Simpson says, “Today Lord Laming presented his review of child protection services. The Tories said it was an ‘indictment of the state of child protection’ in England. I say that is hypocritical given the scandalous state of child protection services in Tory-controlled Surrey, a wealthy County with services rated as low as Haringey, infamous for the Baby P scandal.

Tory-run Surrey is one of only four Council’s to be awarded just one star by the Audit Commission for its performance in 2008.

This came after Ofsted’s Joint Area Review (JAR), published in July, found the Tory run County Council was failing vulnerable children.

The Audit Commission’s summary of Surrey County Council said: “Services for vulnerable children and young people do not meet minimum requirements and safeguarding is inadequate.”

Shockingly the JAR had revealed that council workers in contact with vulnerable youngsters had not even undergone Criminal Records Bureau Checks (CRB).

Disabled children were also found to be staying at home because there was not enough care for them at school and teenage abortion rates were among the highest in the UK.

I have managed services for vulnerable young people for many years and I know how tough it can be to deliver the highest standards but the response of the Tories in Surrey is truly shocking. Astonishingly, instead of accepting the need to improve services, the Tory controlled Council has applied to the High Court for a review of Ofsted’s assessment of its children’s services. The Tory leader of Surrey said the appeal to the High Court was necessary because a one-star rating would lead to increased inspections for the council, which would cost more money!

Lord Laming said that child protection issues in England had not been given “the priority they deserved” and that a lack of funding had made child protection a “Cinderella service”.

That has certainly been the case in Tory-controlled Surrey.

It is nothing short of a disgrace. I am sorry to say that this fits the pattern of the Conservative approach to services for the vulnerable and it is one more reason why we cannot afford to have a return to Conservative government in our country.

View Lord Laming’s full report here.

Read more about Mike Simpson

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