It has already been a bad week for Tony Newman, Croydon’s council leader, and Jo Negrini, his appointee as the borough clerk. Their handling of the council’s crisis over children’s services after the Ofsted inspectors’ “inadequate” report has not drawn any plaudits.
And now they’ve made it on to the local government page of infamy, the Rotten Boroughs column in Private Eye.
It has been a while since Croydon was a fixture on the page, usually with details of one of Negrini’s predecessors, Nathan Elvery, and his somewhat, shall we say “relaxed” approach to procurement procedures on multi-million-pound council contracts.
And they may have to really surpass themselves to match the recent record of Sutton council leader Ruth Dombey and her borough CEO, Niall Bolger, who have almost become a fixture on the Rotten Boroughs page.
The Eye uses a quote which was first reported by Inside Croydon, with Negrini telling council staff in an internal memo that, “It is clear that services for children have not been very good for a very long time and this is unacceptable.”
Even when she said much the same at Monday’s council and cabinet meetings, no one questioned Negrini on this startling admission. Croydon’s Tories were too busy playing politics and demanding political resignations, rather than finding out what’s really been going on and how to get it fixed.
So it has taken Ian Hislop’s fortnightly satirical magazine to ask the question which puts Negrini on the spot:
“If it’s been so bad for so long, why did you fail to do anything about it?”
And here’s an open challenge to the borough’s best-paid employee.
You’ve got our email address, Jo. It might be good if you realised that with your £185,000-plus per year annual salary comes an expectation of public scrutiny, and not just from your mates at RIBA and attending the annual booze and hookers’ fest in the South of France.
We’re sure the whole of Croydon would be fascinated to read your explanation.
- Damning verdict on Croydon’s ‘inadequate’ children’s services
- Croydon’s leadership may be resigned to change at the top
- Commissioner appointed to oversee children’s services
- Negrini tells staff: ‘There are some things that we don’t do well’
- Two key figures leave council over Ofsted inspectors’ report
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