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Jul 24 2013

Officers ‘Not Telling Councillors the Truth’ at Harrow Council?

harrow_council_logo2A senior Harrow Council officer claimed that “officers have not been telling Members the truth about the state of the services”, at last week’s Cabinet meeting. The sensational statement was made by the Corporate Director of Children’s Services, Catherine Doran, as her department’s performance was being questioned by Conservative councillors. The Director also highlighted significant problem areas within the Children’s Services department – which over the past year has been rocked by damaging inspections of its safeguarding and youth offending services.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr. Susan Hall, who sits on Cabinet as a non-voting member, said: “I was alarmed by figures which suggested Children’s Services were having major problems carrying out assessments of children who may need social workers, with the data showing a dramatic decline from the same point last year. I then asked the Corporate Director which areas of the department’s performance most concerned her; with her citing domestic violence prevention, the educational achievement of children in care and the overall quality of the staff and the work being done in Children’s Services.”

Cllr. Hall added: “Incredibly, the Director then said that officers have been misleading councillors about the state of services. This is an extremely serious allegation for her to make, so I have written to the Chief Executive asking him to investigate it as a matter of urgency. Given the priority the Council places on looking after children, any misrepresentation of the health of related services is a matter of great concern.”

Cllr. Paul Osborn, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, was also present at Cabinet and said: “To ensure as thorough and wide-ranging investigation as possible, I have asked for this allegation and its implications to be added to the Scrutiny work programme. With councillors potentially being lied to, it’s vital for the sake of Harrow’s children that we play an active role in getting to the bottom of this issue. Lives are potentially on the line. I will ask both the current and former Corporate Directors of Children’s Services to attend an Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting and to take questions, as it’s not clear how far back these allegations go.”

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2 comments

  1. Jeremy Zeid Chairman Harrow UKIP

    This is nothing new. While I was on Council, I was threatened, lied to and misled by officers, social workers, police and the then director, and I have evidence.

    Children’s services is a self protecting entity that is bately fit for purpose.

    They and other departments treat democratically elected Councillors with disdain, as temporary inconveniences hopefully changed or reshuffled as often as possible so that officers often sniping via vexatious “standards” and “grievance” procedures to bog down and damage Councillors, carry on regardless.

    If I get reelected I promise to be a damned nuisance.

  2. Praxis Reform

    This might be a dumb question, but if you were a Councillors before, why weren’t you a damned nuisance then?

    Surely, if you had evidence of malfeasance, you would have blown the whistle and had the incompetents sacked.

    Since you didn’t do that, doesn’t that now make you at least partly responsible for the appalling state that the Council is in presently?

    “You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil” –John Ruskin

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