Bradford Liberal Democrat comment on the verdict in the case of the murder of Star Hobson


The murder of Star Hobson is a tragedy, our thoughts are with her family and those that knew her. One cannot even try to make sense of why only share the grief of an innocent life lost.

The Council Leadership will of course repeat that they will ‚Äúlearn the lessons‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúreview‚ÄĚ. We believe more needs to happen. Children Services in Bradford are failing which is leaving many children vulnerable. We believe it is beyond the current leadership to fix.

The focus of Council Leadership in Bradford has not been centred on the district's children. They took the word of consultants to implement drastic changes against the advice of the staff that has resulted in a service in crisis. Unmanageable workloads, huge numbers of staff leaving and years of failed OFSTED inspections. After years of decline Children's services in Bradford is still in a real mess, more staff leave than join, top officers have left or been removed leaving a weakened and stretched leadership team. The Council lost money through failing to collect data properly and we are paying millions of pounds for agency workers.  Failure is systemic.

Labour leaders have constantly blamed the Government for failings or a national shortage of staff however a closer look at the services in Bradford show that even the basics like record-keeping have been far from adequate it is difficult to see how these fundamental issues can be blamed on others.

The Labour Executive claim to have led the service on an 'improvement journey' over the last three years. It is a journey that has failed repeatedly to impress OFSTED. Many vulnerable children across the district are still being left at real risk after years of false starts and missed opportunities.

Front-line staff, the bread and butter of children's services are feeling undervalued although they are vital to keeping children safe. Restructure after restructure has left them struggling with an ever-increasing demand on the service and the Council looking to save money.

The Labour leadership over the past decade have expected staff to go above and beyond but have let them down at every turn. Bradford's reputation cannot be mended by another press release or tweet. It needs solid committed leadership from the top of the organisation which is sadly lacking and in our view has to go.

We have clearly been lied to by our local Labour Politicians who, right up to the time of the Ofsted Inspection three years ago, were telling us repeatedly that ‚Äėeverything was fine‚Äô - that was a lie and they knew it.

This is a Council that wants to be a Child-Friendly City but cannot be trusted to protect our most vulnerable children.

It is clear to us that Bradford Council's Labour Leaders are not capable of leading the turnaround of children's services and we expect the Government to protect our most vulnerable children by taking the service out of the Councils control to drive the improvements that are needed.      

 

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland,      

Leader of the Bradford Liberal Democrats  

07771 816991


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