A plan to turn around child protection in Northamptonshire has to be drawn up instead of arguing about the past, the leader of the opposition at Northamptonshire County Council has said.
Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre) leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said there was a danger of concentrating only on what went wrong instead of fixing the problems identified in a draft Ofsted report.
Inspectors are understood to have rated the county’s child protection arrangements as ‘inadequate’ in every category, which has prompted them to conduct another emergency audit this week.
Northamptonshire County Council said the basic findings of the voluntary inspection, as well as what steps the local authority will take, will be published later this month.
Although Ofsted will publish its full report of the emergency second inspection, it will not allow the first report to be made public because it maintains the inspection was part of a pilot scheme and ‘may not be valid”.
He said: “I’ve seen the report twice now and I’m disturbed and really, really angry that it appears the children of this county have been let down very badly.
“We don’t want there to be any cover up and we want it out in the open. I expect what we have seen in private to be what appears in public.
“But debating what went wrong will be something for the council chamber. We want an action plan setting out what the county council, as the lead authority, is going to do to put it right.”
Councillor Tony Clarke (Ind,Castle) said the report would only indicate issues “at the tip of the iceberg”.
He said: “From what I have seen of the report it is damning. But I fear there is more bad news to come. Ofsted will only say what is wrong with the system, which dehumanises what is happening. What we won’t see yet is the individual cases of the children who have been harmed.
Councillor Clarke said he believed keeping the full voluntary inspection report between a select number of councillors showed the council had not been open. He added: “We’re all corporate parents. I absolutely condemn the manner in which the administration has been trying to hold onto this information. It should have been shared with all councillors because we are all responsible for looking after the county’s children.
“There is a culture of deniability which is not healthy in a local democracy.”
The Chron yesterday exclusively revealed the depth of the crisis within child protection services which comes at a time when a process is in place to recruit a new chairman of the Local Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire.
Its former director of adult and children’s services, Charlie MacNally, has also recently left the authority.
The Ofsted inspection report is due to be published later this month.