Labour-led Reading Borough Council have a worryingly consistent record of failing to protect Reading’s most vulnerable children.
Following the Ofsted report in June of last year detailing the failure of Reading Children’s Services to provide ‘children in need’ with the support they require, Lib Dem Councillor Ricky Duveen, called for Jan Gavin, the Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, to stand down to allow fresh leadership to drive forward the necessary change.
Cllr Jan Gavin refused to do this and was supported by Labour and the Conservatives in arguing that it was not the right time for further change in senior staff and stating her desire to see through the changes necessary. Those changes have not happened at the pace required and the latest report states that work to stabilise the workforce have been ‘ineffective’ and that ‘no progress’ has been made since the last Ofsted visit.
Cllr Duveen stated: “The Lib Dems called for Cllr Gavin’s resignation out of concern for vulnerable children, who are in urgent need of our support. These children cannot wait years for Reading’s Children’s Services to sort themselves out, they are receiving care from the Local Authority that is shoddy and could be placing them at further risk right now”
Cllr Meri O’Connell, added: “I have repeatedly queried in committee meetings whether staff in Children’s Services are being asked why they are unhappy in the Council’s employment. If we can understand and act on their feedback we can make our Social Workers feel valued and involved in the process of improving services. This will help to stabilise the workforce and allow change to be driven forward at a faster pace. For those 50% of children currently awaiting a visit from a Social Worker and the 30% of children in need with no plan in place, this is a matter of urgency.”