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.
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.
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.
- Damning verdict on Croydon’s ‘inadequate’ children’s services
- Croydon’s leadership may be resigned to changes 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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