Croydon Minster lunchtime recitals, Fridays, Oct 6-Dec 1

Croydon Minster’s lunchtime musical recital series resumes on October 6.

The full programme of performances of these free concerts, which start each Friday at 1.10pm, will be published soon.

The series runs for nine weeks, through to December 1.

Just bring your packed lunch.

Donations to Minster funds.

Croydon Minster is at Church St, Croydon CR0 1RN Continue reading

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Composers pair off at Mela for unique musical experiment

The Croydon Mela being held in Wandle Park at the end of the month will stage a unique collaboration between cross-cultural performers as part of the Croydon Composers project.

Shri Sriram: unusual combinations

Ten of Croydon’s aspiring composers and musicians – drawn from hip hop to choral folk, Indian classical music to rock, from Turkish percussion to spoken word – have come together and been paired off in unusual, cross-genre combinations.

Each pair will create one composition which will be recorded and performed on September 30 at Croydon International Mela and on October 27 at live music venue, the Scream Lounge in South Croydon. Continue reading

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New business is offering back-up for small enterprises

A south London mum has just started her own business, offering to do for small and medium-sized enterprises in Croydon and Crystal Palace the sort of tasks that the proprietors never have the time nor the inclination for.

Debbie Tilley: providing back-up for small businesses

Debbie Tilley has set up a company, calling it Pink Spaghetti, to sell her time and experience by the hour to small business owners, consultants, freelancers and home workers.

“There are a burgeoning number of micro-businesses across the Crystal Palace, Croydon and Caterham areas, many of which operate from people’s homes and are not in a position to employ a full-time or even part-time assistant,” Tilley said.

“That is where I come in. I can take over the tasks that no business owner enjoys, from managing their social media to decluttering, book-keeping and creating newsletters. Pink Spaghetti exists to take away the legwork from a business owner and give them more time to spend on the parts of their business that they love.

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Croydon’s Ofsted crisis: This is too important for politics

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The children’s services report is the greatest crisis to confront the council since the riots six years ago. Except, says STEVEN DOWNES, it is just the local reflection of a national collapse of social work

“This is too important for politics,” one of Croydon’s most senior councillors said to me in the days after Ofsted delivered their devastating indictment of our council’s failing social services. And they are, of course, absolutely correct. And I say that even though the person speaking to me is a Conservative.

That didn’t stop the councillor’s colleagues, Tim Pollard, the Tory leader of the opposition on the council, and Chris Philp, the MP for Croydon South, weighing-in in the past fortnight with pathetic petitions and calls for the resignation of this or that Labour councillor. Continue reading

Posted in 2018 council elections, Barbara Peacock, Children's Services, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Maria Gatland, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fitzsimons: Councillors ‘naive’ in believing senior officials

Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on how some at the Town Hall are beginning to face up to uncomfortable truths

Croydon’s councillors are becoming increasing angry about the way they have been misled over the handling of the children’s services crisis at the council.

Councillors suggest that council officials were keeping the true extent of the children’s services crisis from them

Some of the council’s more measured figures have so far avoided accusing council officials of actually lying to them, but they are getting close.

Two weeks since Ofsted inspectors published their damning report on Croydon’s failing children’s services department, tonight will see an emergency council meeting staged at the Town Hall.

While a meeting last week had cabinet members whispering to colleagues that, “We mustn’t blame the officers”, a further weekend’s reflection on the detail of Ofsted’s report is prompting questions about whether the council’s most senior staff have been spending more time covering their own arses than caring for the borough’s most vulnerable children.

“We need complete honesty about successes and failures at all levels to be norm,” one senior Labour councillor said today. “No more explaining away uncomfortable truths. No more saying that failure is due to factors outside our control.

“We need true ownership, in other words.” Continue reading

Posted in Alisa Flemming, Barbara Peacock, Children's Services, Croydon Council, Jan Buttinger, Jo Negrini, Sean Fitzsimons, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Children’s services director responded to parents with threats

Ian Lewis, the council director for children’s services who left his job just before the publication of the critical Ofsted report into his department’s performance, has been accused of threatening worried parents who had turned to Croydon Council for help with their autistic child’s education.

Who are council officials working in Fisher’s Folly supposed to be serving: themselves or residents?

Since the Ofsted report into Croydon’s children’s services was published a fortnight ago, Inside Croydon has been contacted by a number of parents, carers and council whistle-blowers, all worried at the way aspects of social work is being mismanaged at Croydon Council.

Some are calling for urgent Ofsted inspections into the council’s other work with children, such as the provision of education to teenagers with special educational needs.

As Inside Croydon reported earlier this year, Ofsted is not the first inspectorate to criticise the council’s services for vulnerable children and young adults, and their carers. The Local Government Ombudsman ruled against Croydon Council in the case of a grandmother, the sole carer for a teen with autism, who had been abandoned by the council’s social services for more than two years. Continue reading

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Staff in ‘inadequate’ Children’s Services paid £1,500 bonus

Croydon Council’s chief executive, Jo Negrini, last week rubber-stamped a £1,500 per person bonus payment to social workers, personal advisers and line managers in the children’s services department – less than two weeks after that department had been issued with a damning “inadequate” report by Ofsted inspectors.

Jo Negrini: trebles all-round

Other hard-working council staff, who have not received the bonus, have described it as a “great slap in the face”.

The council’s children’s services department undertakes a range of safeguarding roles for children, oversees adoption and fostering, and supervises hundreds of unaccompanied children who arrive in the borough seeking asylum.

But the 39-page Ofsted inspectors’ report revealed “widespread and serious” failures leaving youngsters at risk of domestic harm. The report blamed weak management for failing to ensure social workers followed protocols for missing children and those at risk of sexual abuse.

The report refers repeatedly to a lack of support for front-line social workers, a high turnover rate of staff and the council’s struggle to retain its social workers.

Negrini’s first response to these criticisms appears to be to throw money at the problem. Continue reading

Posted in Barbara Peacock, Children's Services, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment