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COMMENT: Children must not be victims of organisational oversight again
11:00am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
WE welcome the creation, at last, of a committee of councillors which will scrutinise how the county’s social services are working to protect our children in care.
It has been launched in the wake of the Bullfinch scandal, when a gang of predatory men abused and exploited six girls for years, under the noses of the police and social services.
Those failings have been exposed because of the Old Bailey trial and we do not doubt that more is to come with the serious case review currently under way.
That past is beyond the remit of this protection board, but the present and future is not and we urge councillors in the strongest possible terms to remember they must remain independent of thought whilst serving on the committee.
Senior officers at the county council have been working to address the Bullfinch failings, but they must continue to be scrutinised and questioned.
Hypothetically, if you had asked in 2006 if children were safe from a gang of paedophiles, officers at the council would have said Yes. We know now the truth was very different.
It is very easy in any council for councillors over time to lose their objectivity and be led by their officers.
It is not complacency so much as familiarity that can lead to a reliance on officers knowing what they are doing and attention to such things beginning to wane.
We have no evidence to suggest this will definitely happen with the child protection board.
But we just raise the point because these councillors have been placed in a position of immense responsibility and our children cannot be failed by organisational oversight again.
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