Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Scrutiny of Childrens Services Ongoing

With the recent attention given to the scandals in Reading Borough Council's Children's Services department political the issue has turned into something of a hot potato.

So when statistics were presented to the council's own scrutiny panel showing assessments completed on time to have dropped significantly since management changes were put in place, questions were certain to be raised.

Labour lead councillor for the service Cllr John Ennis and Conservative opposition spokesperson Cllr Jamie Chowdhary engaged in a tit-for-tat slanging match over the relevance of the statistics, while LibDem spokesperson Cllr Kirsten Bayes stuck to the task and wrote to RBC chief executive Michael Coughlin asking for a more detailed explanation.

Mr Coughlin provided a full statement detailing how changes to the management procedures meant statistics are now being collected in a slightly different way. He said that although this would inevitably create a lag in reporting as the changes funnelled through the administrative system he was confident that "no children are being placed at undue risk because of this improvement in our process and recording."

Cllr Bayes was not prepared to comment on the response, but offered her hope that this would indeed prove to be the case as future statistics are published.

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