Letter to Bucks Free Press about Councillor MacPherson's appointment to BCC Select Committee
As your article last week said, Bucks County Council was lambasted by OSTED for the inadequate performance of its Childrens’ Services while Councillor MacPherson was the responsible cabinet member. BCC had to increase the Children’s Services budget by £7.5 million in the light of the OFSTED report, nearly 20% of its budget (rather than the nearly £5 million increase reported in the BFP).
Councillor Macpherson did not resign when the OFSTED report came out but said, in September, that she was totally committed to improving Children’s Services.
Councillor MacPherson resigned, in November, “for personal reasons”. This was a few weeks before the Secretary of State rejected BCC’s improvement plan for its Childrens’ Services and appointed her own advisors – Red Quadrant - to work with BCC to sort the problems out. BCC has to pay for the services of Red Quadrant and I would be surprised if it gets much change out of £1million.
Councillor MacPherson has never apologised for the failures of BCC’s Childrens’ Service.
It is therefore nothing short of astonishing that she has now been appointed to another critical post in BCC. What credibility can she bring to the Chair of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, which is intended to call agencies and services to account for the delivery of services, when she would not account for the delivery of Childrens’ Services?
What on earth is the Leader of the Tory Group thinking of in appointing Councillor MacPherson to do such an important job?
He hasn’t apologised for the serious failures of the Childrens’ Services either. Neither has he issued any public statement about the rejection of BCC’s improvement plan nor about the appointment of Red Quadrant, the Secretary of State’s advisors. It seems obvious that he doesn’t want to admit publicly how BCC continues to fail our most vulnerable children.
Does the Leader of the Tory Group not understand how offensive it is to appoint the same Councillor who failed to deliver Childrens’ Services to another critical post in BCC? Is it complacency or arrogance or what? Is there no Tory Councillor (if it has to be a Tory) who has a better track record in overseeing delivery of critical services than Councillor MacPherson? Surely there must be?
Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Wycombe Labour