Friday, 31 July 2009

Stephen Barber Appointed Chair of Joint-LSCB

Wokingham Newsblog draws our attention to the appointment of Stephen Barber as chair of the new joint Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB).

The board is the umbrella organisation which will bring together and help coordinate efforts between the local authoritiy, the police, the probation service, the health service, youth service Connexions and other the voluntary sector workers 'to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people'.

Wokingham, West Berkshire and Reading borough councils all praised the high-profile appointment in their press releases announcing his 30-years worth of experience at the top of his profession in some of the most demanding inner-city boroughs in the country which was followed up by a succession of significant regional postings including Oxford Brookes University, Making Children Count project, Oxfordshire Council for Voluntary Children's Service, Parents and Children Together (Reading) and the Hampshire and Thames Valley Circles of Support and Accountability. He is also a member of the registration and conduct committee for the General Social Care Council.

Mr Barber said of his appointment "I am looking forward to making my contribution to protecting children by chairing the safeguarding boards from an independent position."

Oranjepan says:
He is clearly the outstanding candidate for the role, who is also blessed with exceptional local knowledge.

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Meanwhile elected representatives on the blogosphere have exposed the political divide illuminated by the issue.

Redlands LibDem, Cllr Daisy Benson offers a comprehensive view as she wishes Mr Barber the best of luck.

She explains the context of the systemic problems in the field which led to the criticisms of Berkshire councils resulting from the lack of scrutiny undertaken by councillors. But, she argues, it is not a party political point to ensure elected representative are held accountable for the services they are responsible for.

She highlights LibDem calls for more focus and effort in scrutiny, because without openness and accountability the real-world problems which we read about in media headlines and aggravations we all experience just get swept under the carpet and are allowed to continue unabated. In an illuminating comment she writes:
"Scrutiny has helped drive improvement in adult social care services where previously performance has been regarded as weak by inspectors - so much so that the Lead Member himself credited scrutiny with helping to improve the service."
On the other side of the fence Peppard Conservative Cllr Richard Willis reproduces the press release with an additional comment from his party's opposition spokesperson and chief scrutineer for children's services Cllr Jaimie Chowdhary.

Cllr Chowdhary uses the platform provided by his ward colleague to attack the "worrying under-performance" exposed by recent audits.

Cllr Willis concludes by welcoming Mr Barber to the job and offers the hope that "he is successful in ensuring that everything possible is done to keep children safe".

Oranjepan asks:
If opposition spokespeople are happy to complain in the media after the event, why didn't they do their jobs on the relevant committees at the time to prevent recurrence of problems (for which they are paid through the allowance system)?

Do the Conservatives expect the independent chair of the LCSB to do their job for them?

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Click here for more background coverage on our local Children's Services

1 comment:

  1. If Lib Dem spokespeople are happy to complain in the media after the event, why didn't they do their jobs on the relevant committees at the time to prevent recurrence of problems (for which they are paid through the allowance system)?

    Do the Lib Dems expect the independent chair of the LCSB to do their job for them?

    ReplyDelete

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