Deputy leader of the Opposition group on the County Council, Danielle Stone (Labour, Abington and Phippsville), responding to the latest upheaval at the county says,
“A few weeks ago Cllr. Jane Birch and I met with the director of children’s services, Sally Hodges, and her side kick Jean Imrie, to share with them our concerns about the state of the county’s children’s services.
We were told by them, quite firmly, that they were both here for the duration. That they had both turned around services before. They said quite clearly they were not going anywhere.
But they have gone. So what has happened? Their departure follows the departure of other senior personnel including the children’s commissioner.
Clearly, something is rotten in the state of Northamptonshire. It is clear the government commissioners, the director of transformation and his large and expensive team, the new chief executive are presiding over a disaster. What is the leader of the council saying and doing while the NCC ship heads for the rocks?
Maybe it is the leader who should go and allow someone with more authority and more vision to take his place.
Maybe instead of paying for a really expensive superstructure we should get back to basics and pay our staff properly.
Maybe instead of spending public money on hiring consultants, that are linked to the commissioners, we should be using the expertise of our own work force, the expertise of local councillors, the expertise of our own local organisations to reshape children’s service’s and produce good outcomes for all our children.
A history of bad decisions by the conservative administration has contributed to the mess we are in.
It is time for the government to also recognise the part they have played in the downfall of the county. Their attack on local government has seen a huge decline in preventive services. It is harder and harder to employ staff because our services are not fit for purpose and not safe. Existing staff are under too much pressure and are carrying ridiculous caseloads. We have 100s of unallocated cases.
A priority must be to deliver safe and effective services for all our children.
They deserve nothing less. Child focused action is needed and it is needed now”.