A leading Labour councillor has questioned whether the response of Conservative South Gloucestershire Council to significant weakness in its children’s services is adequate.
Late in December 2017 Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission judged that there are significant weaknesses in services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They instructed the Council and local NHS to produce a Written Statement of Action to address these.
Councillor Gareth Manson, who leads on children’s and skills issues for Labour, says that this is the latest in a line of official assessments that have pointed to service weaknesses. Back in February 2017 Ofsted rated the council’s children’s services as inadequate; a follow-up monitoring letter issued to the Council last month stated that ‘The pace of improvement in South Gloucestershire children’s services is too slow. Children in South Gloucestershire continue to experience systemic delays in receiving the help that they need.’
At the council’s Cabinet meeting this week, Councillor Manson asked the Conservative decision-makers how their plans to deal with the latest criticism were any different from previous attempts to address weaknesses.
Councillor Manson says:
“This latest Written Statement of Action is similar in tone and content to the Action Plan which was produced when Ofsted judged children’s services to be inadequate in February 2017.
Einstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Parents, carers and other residents will be frustrated that the ruling Conservatives seem to be doing just this.
I believe that more profound questions need to be asked and a more robust response is required, because our children and young people deserve much better.”