Wycombe Labour today demanded an independent review into Bucks County Council’s role in the case of the sexual abuse of two young girls by six men just convicted at the old Bailey.
Linda Derrick, Wycombe Labour’s spokesperson for health and social care said “One of the girls in his case, who was about 12 or 13 at the time of the abuse, said she told her teacher what was going on. The teacher apparently got in contact with social services and there was a meeting between the girl, the teacher and a social worker from Bucks County Council.
But the abuse went on.
Last year, BCC’s Children’s Services was assessed as inadequate by OFSTED.
OFSTED said failures by BCC’s safeguarding services were widespread and serious. The result was that children were not being effectively protected. OFSTED said some of the failings had been going on for years.
Still BCC did not take the problems seriously. Its improvement plan was turned down by the Secretary of State who put in her own advisors, a company called Red Quadrant. Red Quadrant produced a scathing report criticising BCC for its failure “at the highest corporate level”to own and drive through the necessary changes.
Red Quadrant said progress was slow because “key politicians” cared more about the Council’s tarnished reputation than they did about safeguarding Bucks children.
Wycombe Labour wants to know what BCC did when the young girl told one of its social workers that she was being abused. Why did it fail to stop the abuse?
What confidence can we have that there aren’t more cases like this going on when Children’s Services are still not adequate?
Children’s Services are still not properly resourced with sufficient experienced and competent social workers. Why is it that BCC has to recruit social workers from Romania?
And for that matter, how can we have any confidence that there aren’t cases of abuse of vulnerable adults when Adult Services are not independently assessed?
Wycombe Labour has been calling for the resignation of the Tory leader of BCC and the Chief Executive for nearly a year. Both of them have known about the failings in Children’s Services for years. All they did was to cut its budget. They didn’t apologise and spent months after the OFSTED report defending themselves rather than putting things right.
Now when we see the consequences of BCC’s failings, perhaps they will both accept they are accountable and resign.”