There’s a point where people that give high quality commitment get a kicking regardless of their efforts. As a fairly well placed insider told us last week Bedford’s Safeguarding and Looked After Children’s Service was given the once over from 23rd January to the 3rd Feb. Now the actual blog last week gave us a few headaches as too much info might pinpoint the source and for whatever reason we had over 50 hits to the site in an unusual cluster within a few hours of posting!
Much of the venom inside Borough Hall seems to be aimed at the political structure and the way that attempts have been made to make cutbacks into a frontline service that is in every sense of the word demand led! In short coming up with an intention to strip the budget of such an essential area of public need is the sort of woolly headed thinking that gave us the kick up the botty to start this site up.
Let’s look at the results of the audit and let’s at all times remember that the worse case scenario when such services fail can lead to devastating results for those at the eye of the storm both families and supporters. For Overall Effectiveness, Capacity for Improvement, [ensuring] Children and young people are safe and feel safe, Contributions from Health agencies to keeping children and young people safe, Ambition and Prioritisation, Leadership and Management, Performance Management and Quality Assurance, Overall Effectiveness and Capacity for Improvement the council scored “Adequate” and if you look at the report itself this equals and I quote “A service that only meets minimum requirements”. Quality of Provision and Being Healthy (in terms of the way the authority supports the health requirements of looked after children) were both ranked “Inadequate” meaning “A service that does not meet minimum requirements”.
So add the two together and you can’t really escape the conclusion of “Not very good”. Now this hasn’t gone down well across the staffing units at all and having been on the receiving end of this type of audit when externals come in and pull you apart you start looking for your own solutions and sadly one of the most readily available is to look for alternative employment or a total change of career! The other option is to start demanding better leadership!
Now I know a few people that work there and I have at all times used my maiden name as my Bypass front as I’m not that far removed from this area of work myself. I have to say they agree with parts of the report and disagree vehemently with others. “Vehemently means passionately and if you work with damaged and dysfunctional families you really need to know that everyone around and above you is supporting you.
One area highlighted as a deficiency is gaps in staffing and the over reliance on agency workers which as the report says resulted in a lack of capacity competency and continuity to provide, the residents of Bedford with a satisfactory service. This is the crux of the matter. If you don’t replace staff you easily save money. Then you get kicked when the inspectors come a visiting! Didn’t you work this one out Grizzly Mayor?
Read the report yourselves. Assume that when it comes to Bedford Borough we might be jaundiced not as to the staff more the political leadership so form your own views! What is equally worrying is that this exposes the whole sorry state of the council itself, a small army of elected councillors on the gravy train and hardly any form of comment of any value. Nodding Dogs at £10,000 minimum a year! £20,000 if you are one of the in crowd and how much value could that sort of money give if injected into frontline care!
When this is posted I shall look for a single hit on the meta data report safe in the knowledge that I shall see another cluster and secure in the knowledge that someone in Borough Hall is reading what we say!