Tonight will see the Haringey Liberal Democrat Council Group’s motion of no confidence in Haringey’s political leadership debated – well that is if the Labour Members don’t talk it out by spending so long on other things it is not reached. That is their usual tactic in Haringey – although they should be utterly ashamed if they try that one. Their other tactic (and I remember only too well as Leader of the Opposition on Haringey for five years) was to put an amendment negating everything in the Lib Dem motion and saying how wonderful they are. They wouldn’t dare this time – I hope.
Leaving the politics aside for the moment, over the weekend it because clear that Ed Balls has decided to allow five MPs (including myself) to have sight of the Serious Case Review in full version. I have been calling for it to be published (redacted – i.e. with personal or sensitive information blocked out) and I think the Information Commissioner has said that is possible. But am not sure and will check. If I do see it it will be on Privy Council basis – i.e. that I can never reveal what it says – which may be difficult. It won’t be difficult if the urgent investigation has looked at it and investigated the key issues and Ed Balls takes swift and stringent action upon receiving it. Any less – and I will continue fighting at full blast.
I have had so many helpful contributions from those in the profession, people who have had personal experience of Haringey from the staff side. I hope the inspectors are going to talk to those who have recently left Haringey Social Services – as I am told that they often leave because of the way things are run.
I note the Polly Toynbee brigade’s feeble attempt to protect Labour Haringey by rattling sabres about not slagging them off otherwise social workers won’t come. But Polly – they won’t come because bad management has left them clearly vulnerable and children unsafe – not because that is now out in the wide world. What Haringey needs is a Social Services department that can start again – enabling social workers to do their very best – not just jump to fill in forms for fear.
For goodness sake – at one of my surgeries, staff were literally afraid to speak to me. I know staff have all been warned by email not to talk about Baby P – well that may be a very successful, information hiding corporate approach – but it hardly fills me with confidence about a change in culture and openness at Haringey. That’s what needs changing – and change won’t come from hiding away the problems.