Essex CC inadequate at keeping children safe whilst excelling at "spin"

December 18, 2008 3:28 PM

Jo Swinson reading with nursery childrenVulnerable local children are being let down by Essex County Council, according to Government inspectors. The Conservative-run authority is one of the eight worst councils in the entire country, including Haringey where Baby P died. However, the Council manages to be good at spending on press and PR.

It has failed to provide effective safeguards for children and has been given a damning 'inadequate' grade - not even meeting minimum standards for child protection.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Tom Smith-Hughes launched a stinging attack on this woeful performance, saying, "This is an appalling report for any Council to receive and there is no way of spinning a good story out of it. Of the seven categories marked by the inspectors, six of them received an inadequate or poor mark, right at the bottom of the scale. The public needs believable reassurances that these serious shortcomings are being addressed as a priority.

"The Conservatives have spent the past year swaggering around the county and the country consumed with a stream of ridiculous headline grabbing gimmicks. They've bragged about their plans to recruit the runner up of the BBC's 'The Apprentice' show that came to nothing, they've hosted conferences that achieved practically nothing and they've showcased its communications department. Yet they failed to do the one thing that the public expects of them - look out for the most vulnerable members of our community, our children.

"The Conservatives have become obsessed with their own image, and drunk on their own sense of self importance. They have allowed themselves to believe their own deluded publicity that they are the best council in the country. In their quest to pose for the most number of photo-opportunities, they have forgotten to concentrate on why they're here. They have neglected to provide the most basic services and requirements of a council, they have treated taxpayers money with disdain, they have failed the residents of Essex.

"It is now the mark of this Conservative administration, that it values its own image over the lives of vulnerable children."

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