Wirral Conservatives Demand a Special Council!

Following the damning Ofsted report, today, all 21 members of the Wirral Conservative Group has written (via email) to the Mayor of Wirral to requisition a special Council meeting.

The full text of that request can be read by clicking HERE 

Wirral Council’s Failure to Protect Vulnerable Children

Starts

Do you know of any children who witness or even experience abuse at home? If you do, you’re already doing better than Wirral Council.

These are the children who are in the kind of situations, suffering abuse and neglect that most of us, even as adults, never see.

Until this week, most people probably assumed that on something so important, not even Wirral Council could screw it up.

Well, this week, a new report by Ofsted revealed that your Town Hall has, indeed, screwed up. Or, more accurately, screwed up the lives of some of the children whose only mistake was to be born into a situation they never asked for.

Here in Wirral, 2,712 children are in need of specialist child protection services. Almost 400 children are so at risk that they need a formal plan to try to keep them safe. While, for 705 children, the safest option is not to be at home but, instead to be ‘looked after’ by Wirral Council.

Ofsted makes it clear that the most senior directors in the Town Hall have failed to ensure that each of these children has received the help, support and love they need.

Some of these children have been left in emotionally abusive situations because they were ‘miscategorised’.

Some of these children were not told they can have the help of an advocate to act on their behalf.

Some of these children, when approaching the ages of 16 and 17, have simply disappeared from the Council’s radar.

Some of these children ended up as homeless – at the potential mercy of any passing pimp or paedophile.

At the same time, some families who have been given the green light to adopt have not been referred to the Adoption Register.

That means the loving, caring homes these children need,have, instead, been left empty.

The Council’s response? Much hand wringing, carefully worded statements and a bung of £2 million. Strangely reminiscent of the same promises that were made when the Town Hall had been found guilty of deliberately overcharging vulnerable adults for their care.

So, that’s ok then.

Well, actually, it’s not.

Four years ago, (under the Conservative/Lib Dem Council) these same services that are now rated as ‘Inadequate’ were rated as ‘good’.

So what’s gone wrong? Quite simply, a failure of leadership. The report makes clear that the job of ‘Head of Service for Children’s Social Care’ has been left unfilled due to ‘other priorities’.

Spot on with that one, Ofsted.

‘Other priorities’ such as an extra bin for food waste costing £1.5 million or a council newspaper costing £207,000.

The report states: “While a new structure was completed following the appointment of a permanent chief executive 15 months ago, this has not yet resulted in the anticipated improvements.”

Right again, Ofsted.

This ‘new’ structure has seen massive pay rises for people at the top; most recently Labour gave three directors a pay rise of £34,000. 11 directors at the Town Hall are now paid more than £100,000 a year.

So far, not one of these people has resigned or been sacked. Nor, for that matter have any of the nine Labour Cabinet Members or the 20 ‘Pledge Champions’.

Not one of these people has even had the decency to use the word ‘sorry’.

Indeed, when the going gets tough, Labour goes to ground. Keeping their heads down and hoping it will all blow over.Letting the unelected officers take the flak.

Are we really expected to believe that the people who have allowed the service to ‘deteriorate’ are the same people who are now going to turn it around?

And try telling some of the children in the Council’s care that Wirral is now the country’s ‘most improved council’. That’s if you can find them.

ENDS

Young and Old Alike!

On Friday, after accompanying Wirral West MP, Esther McVey to a morning assembly at Weatherhead School, at which she talked of her inspirational ‘bookazine’ “If Chloe Can’ and in my capacity as Wirral’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, I went along to the official opening of Willow Bank, the new Housing 21 extra care facility for older people based in Gorsey Lane.

The Mayor and his consort were present, and I also met up with Cllr Denis Knowles and local campaigner, Geoff Dormand.     After the usual speeches and a lovely buffet lunch, those who wished to, were given a guided tour of the complex.    It is clear that no expense has been spared and the individual flats are state of the art with everything an older person would need. Speaking to the residents, they spoke as one in saying they are extremely happy to have ended up in such a great complex with caring staff and tremendous neighbours.     This really is a facility and more importantly a community to be proud of.

Linear Park, Update!

Me with Leah Fraser, Cllr Simon Mountney, Cllr Steve Williams and disappointed children

Last night I attended the Brooke Residents Association meeting at Moreton Community Centre, Maryland Lane.     The Brooke has incorporated the Friends of Linear Park Group into its organisation and is working alongside the Friends group and local Councillors to bring about the refurbishment of the childrens play area.       This is something that Me, and my colleagues, Cllr Simon Mountney, Leah Fraser and more recently Cllr Steve Williams have been working on since the Council decomissioned the play area in Summer last year.

Having first being told there was no funding, we are delighted that the Council has finally listened, and has identified £81,000 to refurbish the play area, and in addition they are enhancing the grassed area adjacent to the play area.     You can see the plans for the refurbishment by clicking HERE.      The work on the play area is due to start on the 15th March, and is expected to take about five weeks.    Once complete, we hope that it is maintained to a good standard, and is not abused.

Cultural Vandals!

             

Readers of the blog will be aware of our campaign to get Linear Park childrens play area back into use.    We were originally told that no funding was available, but after much lobbying we were delighted that the  Council identified £81k to carry out the refurbishment and hopefully this will be completed by end March / early April.

Sadly, as can be seen by the photographs above, sent to me by a local resident the Council in its preparation of the area, has caused major problems to the grassed area and the much used footpath, you just would not believe that the Council could not remove the old safety flooring from the play area without causing so much damage!   I have contacted the guy in charge of this and asked him to get it sorted asap and take steps to make sure that the rest of the work is carried out without causing any further damage.

Latest on Childrens Services in Wirral

Email below has just been sent to me from the Director of Children’s Services:

Schools:  All are closed today (Weds) except 2 primaries.  One further primary school will be closed tomorrow due to oil supplies being low.  One school, New Brighton Primary will be open as it has a very local staff and we have confirmed that the risk to children is low.

We cannot guarantee transport for children with SEN so special schools will be closed tomorrow and Friday.   SEN children who are transported to mainstream schools and those who attend special schools out of borough will also be at home.

Wirral Children’s Homes  are open and running.    Contact is being made with private and voluntary homes accommodating Wirral children.

CADT is open and running as is EDT.     Should EDT workers need to make nighttime visits to families, Police have agreed to collect them from WUTH and transport them.   

Children’s Centres:  A majority are closed but from tomorrow will be staffed and provide a point of contact for families.    They will be re-opened as soon as possible.     One, Seacombe, will be open and will be used for supervised parental contact with LAC. 

Social Services Offices are open and running at reduced staffing levels.  Statutory visits and child protection assessment visits are taking place. 

CP Initial Conferences: have been risk assessed.     Where it is safe to do so these have been re-arranged for early next week.  Others will go ahead.

YOS is operating.     Oaklands is operating. 

Press have been informed and radio interviews have been given.  Broadcasters have been very supportive. 

Howard Cooper

LABOUR TO CUT SURE START!

Leah Fraser, Steve Williams, Simon Mountney and Me At the Sure Start Centre at Lingham Primary School

SECRET PLANS by Wirral’s Labour-led Council to slash the help for young mums and dads have been uncovered.    Less than seven days after Angela Eagle MP promised to defend Sure Start, her Labour-led Council announced cuts of £300,000.

The money for Sure Start is being raided by the Council to try to plug the massive cash shortage in the Town Hall.     Local campaigner Steve Williams has warned that mums and dads will be worse off with the cuts: “Many of the parents I have spoken to in Moreton really like Sure Start.     “It provides help with the important early years.   This cut goes against everything local people need,” added Steve.

It seems that parents are paying the price for Labour’s broken economy.  Nationally, the Government is about to axe Childcare Vouchers that help get people off benefits and into work.     Last week, the current Labour MP was praising Sure Start.     This week, her Council has revealed plans to cut it.  TIME FOR CHANGE!