Council leader slams Labour party after agency workers criticism

Knutsford Guardian: Council leader slams Labour party after agency workers criticism Council leader slams Labour party after agency workers criticism

THE leader of Cheshire East Council has blasted the Labour opposition on the council after their recent criticism of the authority’s recruitment of agency social workers.

An Ofsted inspection in March 2013 revealed inadequate child safeguarding after inspectors said they were concerned about the number of agency workers temporarily employed by the council and also the shortage of experienced social workers.

In the Guardian last week Labour councillors highlighted the ‘disturbing’ turnover of staff and added it was affecting the children the council were trying to safeguard, as a lack of continuity results in a lack of stability.

But now Clr Michael Jones, has hit out at Labour councillors for their recent criticism that the council was ‘dangerously complacent’ when it came to recruiting enough social workers to its child safeguarding team.

Clr Jones said: “Questions need to be asked about the Labour group continually running down the services we provide for vulnerable children and adults.

“It is absolutely untrue that we have a ‘dangerously complacent’ view as Clr Sam Corcoran recently alleged.

"Both he and Clr Ken Edwards really should apologise because they know that there is a national shortage of social workers dating from the last Labour government and that Cheshire East already has incentives in place to recruit more.

"By running down the service they make that task harder.”

He added: “Only yesterday (December 23) I was in correspondence with the Minister, David Laws, who has commended the council on the steps we are making to improve our children’s services. Indeed, under this Conservative government, Ofsted’s inspection regime has been strengthened.

“Clr Corcoran’s comments are therefore unnecessary, insensitive and quite wrong. What does he say to our social workers who are working hard through the Christmas period? He really needs to stop using our frontline staff as political footballs to kick.

“To say this council is complacent on child safety is simply a fantasy.

“I will always defend the work of our 24/7 child safety team and will be visiting them over Christmas to see the fantastic work they do.”

Comments (1)

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9:08am Fri 3 Jan 14

CllrSam says...

Cllr Michael Jones really should stop blaming council staff for his own inadequacies. He seems to hide behind staff whenever he is criticised. I stand by my criticism of Cllr Michael Jones’s remark that Cheshire East Council’s child safeguarding is not inadequate. OFSTED found Cheshire East Council’s child safeguarding was INADEQUATE and we should be concentrating on putting that right. Please note that my criticism was of Cllr Michael Jones and NOT council staff. Yet Cllr Jones responds by trying to divert the criticism to our frontline staff.
One of the key factors identified as a result of the OFTED findings was the heavy reliance on agency staff and the shortage of experienced permanent social workers at Cheshire East Council. Those key indicators have not improved in the 6 months since the OFSTED inspection. At 30 September 2013 more than 25% of the council’s social workers were agency staff and fewer than 50% were permanent, experienced social workers. We need to be having an intelligent discussion over why we can’t recruit more experienced social workers and why so many of the experienced social workers that we do have are leaving the council.

Only a few years ago, Cheshire East Council was making experienced social workers redundant. Now the council is failing to recruit enough experienced social workers. Cllr Michael Jones needs to get a grip on the real problems facing Cheshire East Council and stop blaming council staff for his own mistakes.

Details can be found at http://moderngov.che
shireeast.gov.uk/ecm
inutes/ieListDocumen
ts.aspx?CId=281&MId=
4760
Cllr Michael Jones really should stop blaming council staff for his own inadequacies. He seems to hide behind staff whenever he is criticised. I stand by my criticism of Cllr Michael Jones’s remark that Cheshire East Council’s child safeguarding is not inadequate. OFSTED found Cheshire East Council’s child safeguarding was INADEQUATE and we should be concentrating on putting that right. Please note that my criticism was of Cllr Michael Jones and NOT council staff. Yet Cllr Jones responds by trying to divert the criticism to our frontline staff. One of the key factors identified as a result of the OFTED findings was the heavy reliance on agency staff and the shortage of experienced permanent social workers at Cheshire East Council. Those key indicators have not improved in the 6 months since the OFSTED inspection. At 30 September 2013 more than 25% of the council’s social workers were agency staff and fewer than 50% were permanent, experienced social workers. We need to be having an intelligent discussion over why we can’t recruit more experienced social workers and why so many of the experienced social workers that we do have are leaving the council. Only a few years ago, Cheshire East Council was making experienced social workers redundant. Now the council is failing to recruit enough experienced social workers. Cllr Michael Jones needs to get a grip on the real problems facing Cheshire East Council and stop blaming council staff for his own mistakes. Details can be found at http://moderngov.che shireeast.gov.uk/ecm inutes/ieListDocumen ts.aspx?CId=281&MId= 4760 CllrSam

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