The politician with responsibility for children at Northamptonshire County Council has survived calls for his resignation.
Councillor Andrew Grant (Con, Brackley East) faced calls to stand down from opposition politicians following the publication of a damning report which warned youngsters in the county had been exposed to ‘chronic harm’.
An official motion calling for his resignation was tabled by the Liberal Democrats during a meeting of the county council today.
Referring to the damning Ofsted report, Councillor Sally Beardsworth (Lib Dem, Kingsthorpe) said: “It’s no good saying we didn’t know about this before this report was published, because we did. It’s been reported to us by the children.
“I know of a case where a child was left in a house that was so appalling the RSPCA removed the dog two weeks before we removed the child.
“That shouldn’t happen in this day and age.
“Councillor Grant must have been aware of what was going on and he allowed it to happen. It’s totally wrong that he should be allowed to stay in his position because obviously he’s not up to the job.”
Opposition Labour councillors and independent members also called for the cabinet member to resign.
Councillor Bob Scott (Lab, Lloyds), put the problems in social services down to staff and funding cuts. He said: “I do have a lot of time for Andrew Grant, but at the end of the day he was the cabinet member who oversaw the reduction in staff numbers and probably didn’t help enough, and this is the result. I would support his resignation.”
Former MP, Councillor Tony Clarke (Ind, Castle) added: “The real human cost of all this will only be known to us when we find out what’s happened to children because of the failings of this council.
“And the buck has to stop somewhere. Councillor Grant got it very badly wrong. It may have been through the pressure of office, it may have been that this particular role was not suitable to him.
“I don’t know why he got it so desperately wrong, but I ask him to do the honourable thing and resign.”
Councillor Grant did not address the meeting to defend his position or his actions and only spoke for a few minutes to answer technical points.
But he was firmly defended by the Conservative leader of the authority, Councillor Jim Harker (Con, Kettering Rural), who said he would not be made an example of.
He said: “The issues revealed in the Ofsted report are really serious and are being addressed as a matter or urgency.
“We’re determined to leave no stone unturned and get to the root of the problem and deal with it.
“But I utterly regret the suggestion that Andrew Grant should be made a political scapegoat.
“I don’t agree that his resignation would help us in any way. He still has a big job to do.”
When the issue of Councillor Grant’s future was put to the vote, he won the complete backing of the leading Conservative group on the council with only opposition members voting for him to stand down.
The motion calling for his resignation was defeated by a majority of 39 to 14.