Thursday, 5 February 2015

Not Fit For Purpose

It's a damning conclusion on the place I work and may be deserved but something doesn't quite add up. I know nothing about the ins and outs of Childcare or Children and Young Peoples' Services so possibly the conclusions relating to that Service are correct.  But to say that the whole Council is not fit for purpose seems to be overkill given that I'm not aware of any enquiry into any aspect of my Service at all.  How would they know?

Also, re CYPS, they say that the Council's response was inadequate but we've had nothing but updating emails since the Jay Report came out saying what changes are being made, how many new social workers are being appointed, additional funding for investigation and support and a complete restructure of the internal structure of the Council and Cabinet.  The Jay Report was 5 months ago and the Corporate Governance inspectors moved in barely a month later.  Could they really judge the efficacy of the response in this short timescale??

That said, I'm not an apologist for Rotherham councillors or senior management.  I know that what happened in Rotherham, between the Council, the Police and those members of the community who knew what was going on, was utterly shocking and horrific and serious steps need to be taken to make sure it doesn't happen again and that the evil bastards are brought to justice.

I also think that the fact that Rotherham has had single party rule for decades with no effective opposition has caused the Labour Group and senior Cabinet members in particular to become complacent.  They do not have their decisions challenged and there is little chance of them being kicked out at elections.  Quite simply, they do not need to defend themselves or their policies.  That will all change when UKIP sinks its fangs into us.  I would predict that there is a very good chance that we will be the first UKIP controlled Council very soon.  Oh goodie.

I'm just not sure that scapegoating this Council to the exclusion of all other responsible bodies is the way to go.  I can't help feeling that there will be other Councils where this has happened and who haven't addressed matters either but we will be the only Council treated in this way.  Pickles has his scalp and can appear strong and tough and decisive and everyone else will muddle on through.

I just wish they made it clear on the news that the report is referring to Cabinet Members and Councillors and very senior management leaders not the ordinary officers who are trying to carry on doing our jobs with no salary increase for 3 years, extensive job cuts so that there is no way we can service our work loads and now while being publicly branded "not fit for purpose".  Now I know how Customs Officers felt after Pickles laid into them.

So, you may be able to detect a degree of misery, irritation, frustration and unhappiness arising from all this.  I know it's only work but I do care about Rotherham and really try to make things better.  I hope the Commissioners get to grips with our problems and sorts our deficiencies out but I suspect we're just going to have more work, with less support, less trust and less fun.

I have not deviated from my dieting efforts.  In fact it has been easier because I'm avoiding the grimness of the office where possible by working from home.  My weight is staying stubbornly static but I'm hopeful of a small drop this week.  I have a bucket load of snowy pictures but have not yet sorted through them for publication so that will have to be saved for a later post.

So, on that grumpy note I'm off to darts and dominoes now and heaven helps and pub wag who decides to have a go... As the Wealdstone Raider would say - "You want some??  I'll give it yer!!"

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