Extra council meeting called over children’s services shambles

Croydon is to hold another emergency meeting of the full council in two weeks’ time to discuss the crisis over the borough’s children’s services, when there are sure to be further calls for council leader Tony Newman and members of his Labour cabinet team to resign.

Councillors are ‘corporate parents’. But only six of them were allowed to speak at the first children’s services debate

This extraordinary meeting comes less than a month since the previous meeting, which was called by the Tory opposition to try to get some answers over how the council’s children’s services department was given an “inadequate” rating after a visit from Ofsted’s inspectors over the summer.

Children’s services has a wide remit, but is responsible for the welfare of every child in the borough, and looks after matters including fostering, adoption and the care of unattached minors who arrive in Croydon seeking asylum.

This latest council meeting, to be staged in the Town Hall chamber on Monday, October 16, replaces a scheduled cabinet meeting.

According to Katharine Street sources, it has been called by the Labour-run administration, and is intended to outline the plan of action which has been agreed since the Ofsted report was published and a government commissioner was appointed to oversee Croydon’s failing children’s services department.

There are hopes that more than just six, hand-picked councillors will be given the opportunity to speak at this meeting.

At the previous meeting in September, Jo Negrini, the £185,000 per year town clerk, advised the elected councillors that, as “corporate parents”, they were all responsible for the failings of the children’s services department.

Town clerk Jo Negrini: blocked questions about council staff performance

But later Negrini advised the Mayor, who chairs council meetings, not to allow any interventions from the floor from back-bench councillors – “corporate parents” – who may have had questions about her own role in the shambles.

Of course, Negrini, as chief exec of the council, is responsible for the conduct of the council’s staff. She also appointed Barbara Peacock to be the executive director of “People”, the directorate responsible for children’s services. Negrini also authorised a £1,500 “bonus for failure” to be paid to social workers and their managers in the failing children’s services department soon after the Ofsted report was published, as exclusively revealed by Inside Croydon.

So it may have suited her purpose not to allow too many awkward questions from the floor about quite how bad a job she and her staff had been doing.

More on this story:

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Barbara Peacock, Children's Services, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Extra council meeting called over children’s services shambles

  1. dave1152 says:

    Would be interesting to know what Jo Negrini’s objectives are and how she is measured against them. In a ‘real’ company executives who fail to perform are dispatched pretty quickly. Council officials seem to be able to hide behind a wall of silence and political claptrap.

  2. How are ALL children doing in Croydon ?
    Revealed: every Londoner breathing dangerous levels of toxic air particle

    Exclusive: Every area of the capital breaches global standards for PM2.5 pollution particles, with most areas exceeding levels by at least 50%


    Childrens’ Services AND Planning Committee !

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