24 January 2013

Social work death cover up threatens senior Kingston Lib Dem councillors

Kingston council's child protection department has been the subject of various enquiries since serious failings were uncovered by OFSTED last year.  This latest report from the BBC suggests that social work managers engaged in a deliberate cover up following the murder of Charito Cruz in 2011 - despite her circumstances having been repeatedly reported to the council.

So far Cllr Trish Bamford, Lead Member for Children and Young People, has resisted opposition calls for her resignation, as has council leader Derek Osbourne.  But the news of the timing of the former director's departure (plus the obligatory six figure golden handshake) and the fact Lib Dem councillors are asking Kingston taxpayers to fork out even more council tax to 'protect services' will put more pressure on them.

People may be prepared to pay extra to safeguard children and vulnerable people.  But I can't imagine there being much enthusiasm for tax rises if the tax paying public simply see it ending up in the back pockets of incompetent council staff. 

Lib Dem councillors in Kingston will have to do a lot more to prove they have sorted out the mess in social services and explain exactly how the additional money they are asking residents to stump up will make a difference - particularly for those at risk.

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