Tag Archives: haringey council

Opinion: Haringey – a council in crisis

Haringey Council has a terrible reputation for failure. The tragic child protection scandals of Victoria Climbe and Baby Peter and the 2011 riots which started in Haringey are just some examples of the many crises in the borough.

Haringey Council has been mismanaged by Labour for the last 41 years and frequently tries to persuade sceptical residents that these problems are in all in the past. But the last month has seen a succession of bad news stories that have further battered the reputation of the crisis-hit council.

Children’s services still in trouble

Two local parents recently

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Education, education, education

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Lynne Feahterstone visiting a Haringey primary school. Some rights reserved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnefeatherstone/3010645357/My mother and father were not that enthused about education. Going out to work as soon as possible and earning a living came higher up on their agenda. When you had known poverty as they had – earning took precedence over learning. I went to my local school – Highgate Primary. (We are talking over fifty years ago). Luckily for me …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Haringey deserves better

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

I’m often asked why I got in to politics. There were a number of causes– but prominent amongst them was (and still is) complete and utter frustration with the Labour-run Haringey Council!

I live in a small cul-de-sac and whilst most dwellings here have one off street parking space (including me) many don’t. Some years ago now – Haringey decided to paint double yellow lines on both sides of the road – completely unnecessarily – which would have meant no parking …

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Haringey Council shows how not to provide educational vision

Having a vision for an important public service is a good thing, whether you are the sort of person who laps up visions for breakfast or the sort of person who hankers for a golden pre-jargon age when vision meant something to do with your eyes. Either way, knowing what you actually are trying to achieve overall is what saves you from drowning in detail and being blown every which way by passing events.

So the concept of a local council drafting a vision statement for education in its area is fine. The problem with Haringey Council’s attempt is the content.

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Appalling failings at Haringey Mortuary

The Ham & High reports:

Auditors criticised the mortuary for its haywire record keeping, after a routine visit in May revealed oversights including not properly recording the locations of bodies.

The blunders were so serious the auditor immediately ordered Haringey Council – which runs the supposedly state-of-the-art facility, opened amid much fanfare in February 2009 – to make changes, including adding body storage locations to its database…

In March this year, Lyn Garner promised Haringey had reviewed its procedures and believed it had “as robust a set of arrangements in place as possible”.

But two months later auditors visiting the mortuary found:

  • personal effects

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Haringey Council on the brink as auditors refuse to sign off accounts

Labour-run Haringey Council is in danger of breaching the legal deadline for having its accounts signed off by its auditors after a series a multi-million pound errors were found in the accounts. Today is the last working day before the legal deadline for auditor approval of 30th September

The debacle was revealed at last night’s Corporate Committee meeting where the Labour chair of the committee described the situation as “very regrettable”. However Labour’s Cabinet Member for Finance Joe Goldberg failed to turn up – leaving council officers to face the …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… The worst roads in the country?

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, turning on the local council’s record on road repairs.

It sometimes seems that the only thing Haringey Council is good at is finding new ways to fail local people. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised to read that the borough has the worst maintained roads in England.

A new survey by the Department for Transport shows that one in five of Haringey’s main roads are in need of some kind of repair. No other council area in England has …

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Opinion: Lib Dems Must oppose Labour’s ideological cuts in 2012

If I were a cleverer person than I am, I would try to create a joke with a punch line to fit the following set-up: What’s the difference between a cut in government spending and an ideological cut in government spending?

That I’m not clever enough to create a pithy punch line is of no consequence, as it is no laughing matter.

Labour have sometimes tried to trail the line that the coalition’s cuts are avoidable, that there are the product of ideology rather than necessity.

This line lacked some credence because even as they

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Mother left 10 children starving and lice-ridden in same borough where Baby P and Victoria died

That’s the Evening Standard headline about the latest tragedy in the London Borough of Haringey, home already to two of the most shocking and notorious failures in child protection in recent years:

A mother has been jailed for the abuse of 10 children in her care in Haringey, the borough at the centre of the Baby P scandal.

She left the children starving, smelly, crawling with head lice and covered in ingrained dirt.

One child was so hungry that when a foster carer fed her she pressed the milk bottle hard against her mouth, leaving a red mark. The skin beneath her

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Council website spending put under scrutiny

Today’s Telegraph has a piece looking at the large sums being spent by many councils on new or revamped websites.

In itself, an expensive website is not necessarily a poor use of funds as good, popular sites often also save costs (e.g. by reducing the number of phonecalls the council has to handle). As a result, Medway Council – one of those picked out in the article – may have a good case for spending £250,000 in revamping its site given that the last major revamp was in 2003. In the last seven years the internet has changed significantly as have …

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Baby P whistleblower stands as councillor

From the Evening Standard:

The whistleblower who warned that Haringey social services were failing to protect children just six months before the death of Baby P is to stand for election there as a Liberal Democrat councillor.

Former social worker Nevres Kemal, above, who will contest the Noel Park ward, said she will try to rid the council of a culture of “lying, deception and cover-ups”.

Best of luck Nevres.

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Clause 81 of the New Roads and Street Act 1991 is your friend

You may have been following some of my travails trying to get repairs made to some of those telephone, broadband, traffic light etc boxes which appear on many pavements.

Although  my own local council (Islington) is very good at dealing with them either directly themselves or passing on to the relevant company and ensuring the work is done, other councils, including Haringey and Westminster, are far less so.

Haringey in theory also gets the job done if a member of the public reports a problem to them, but in practice I’ve often found problems of things going wrong or being forgotten.

Worst of …

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Daily View 2×2: 24 January 2010

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for one of Microsoft’s best adverts (no, really) and the bicycle lane of the week but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Really interesting health discussion: Sandy Walkington doesn’t got for hyperbole in his description of a public meeting addressed by Norman Lamb but do read through to the end – which has an excellent account of the problems facing anyone trying to come up with policy for the NHS.
  • Snow joke: Residents demand grit bins as Labour stop debate: Haringey councillor Richard Wilson is on the case to get more grit bins so residents can do more to take care of their own streets during future snow falls. Haringey Labour’s response? Waffle. (Words rather than food, that is.)

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

‘Sarah’s Law’ sex offender alert scheme may be expanded

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Haringey ‘gagged’ council chief with six-figure payoff

The Evening Standard reports:

Haringey council was facing fresh criticism today over a secret six-figure payoff it made to one of its senior officials.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was allegedly given the payment to stop an embarrassing “revelation” about Labour councillor Charles Adje becoming public at an employment tribunal.

The council is facing calls to explain the deal.

Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, called on chief executive Ita O’Donovan to “clarify” the reasons for it.

She said: “There is a big question mark over how Haringey uses gagging orders and prefers cover-up to openness. There

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Haringey Labour increase their allowances by stealth

A quick quiz for you. One of the Haringey local newspapers, The Hornsey Journal, had this story on 14 May:

Under fire councillors opt to take pay freeze
The recession is about to hit councillors in the pocket, after both Haringey Labour and Liberal Democrat parties decided NOT to take a pay rise …

Councillor Claire Kober, Leader of the Labour-controlled council, said, “… This move will mean any savings can go straight into providing essential services for the people of Haringey.”

So, do you think that Labour voted through changes that resulted in the council’s allowances bill:

a) Staying the same, or
b) Increasing by £44,751 (7%)?

I’ll …

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Baby P’s death “could and should” have been stopped

The awful news about the second case of child abuse involving someone Haringey Council was meant to be protecting – with the conviction of the boyfriend of Baby P’s mother for raping a two-year old – has rather pushed to one side the publication of the second Serious Case Review into Baby P’s death.

The original Serious Case Review concluded that essentially nothing too significant was done wrong by those involved in protecting Baby P, but was rapidly discredited once its finding were publicised. This new review paints a very different picture, including the key conclusion that the death of Baby

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If the leader of the free world only needs a small TV…

Seeing this photo of Barack Obama’s small TV reminded me of this story about the size of the TV installed in the office of the then Labour leader of Haringey Council. I’m sure there are plenty of good reasons why the leader of a council needs a much bigger TV than the leader of the free world :-)

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Mainstream media catches up with concerns over Haringey Chief Exec Ita O’Donovan

Evening Standard, 12 March 2009:

The head of the council at the centre of the Baby P scandal faces questions today over a series of other child protection failures.

Haringey chief executive Ita O’Donovan has held senior positions at three councils that were condemned for failing children so seriously that the Government was forced to intervene.

Dr O’Donovan has worked in authorities embroiled in some of the country’s most shocking child deaths. She has said she considered resigning over the Baby P tragedy but decided the council needed stability.

She was in charge of Stoke-on-Trent council when 15-year-old Gareth Myatt choked and died

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New edition of Liberator

The latest edition of Liberator magazine has just landed on subscribers’ doormats. Here’s a preview of the contents:

‘Commentary’ editorial praises Nick Clegg for making some bold statements in recent weeks. It concludes: “His recent statements on Gaza, the euro and the City are morally right, clear and distinctive. The party needs more statements like this and less of the PR twaddle.”

• The insider gossip column ‘Radical Bulletin’.

• Our lead article ‘Peace from Gaza’s wreck?’ is written by Jonathan Fryer. He argues that Israel’s real friends must admit that the Middle East conflict cannot have

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Opinion: Civil liberties in a modern context

What does an innocent person have to fear?” That’s one of the most common arguments rolled out time and time again to justify chipping away at our freedoms. If you’re innocent why should you be worried if the government can do X, knows Y or stops Z?

The counter-arguments tend to be a mix of principle and pragmatism. Principled arguments around issues such as rights that we have as humans and the restrictions there should be on what governments can do. Pragmatic arguments such as the costs (e.g. spend money on ID cards or on police?), practicalities (e.g. what odds that …

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Wards Corner: another u-turn from Boris Johnson

Wards Corner in Tottenham is the site of one of those markets, deeply rooted in the local community and highly distinctive, that add so much to its surrounding area. This gem of a market, with a strong Latin American flavour, is not that well known, and as a result the plans to demolish it haven’t got as wide regional attention as they would have for its more famous cousins around London. (You can, though. watch a BBC TV report here.)

However, that may now change with a dramatic u-turn from London Mayor Boris Johnson, dropping his previous support for opponents …

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Old habits linger on at Haringey Council as Labour block Baby P debate

This morning’s newspapers brought the news that the head of Ofsted is accusing Haringey Council of misleading her inspectors:

Ofsted’s assessment of local authorities’ children’s services last year consisted of a checklist of the information managers had to provide to demonstrate, among other things, that they had adequate social workers and were assessing children promptly. Managers in Haringey misled Ofsted by providing inaccurate data, the chief inspector said.

Tactics used by the council included claims that managers had assessed children promptly when the files revealed that those assessments were in fact incomplete. The same files showed that such assessments of children

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David Lammy’s record under the spotlight

The attitude of David Lammy (MP for Tottenham, one of the two constituency in Haringey) towards evidence of problems with Haringey’s children’s services has been coming under increasing scrutiny and it doesn’t look good.

David Lammy was warned by a whistle blower of severe problems in Haringey six months before Baby P’s death. Yet as Paul Waugh pointed out in the Evening Standard, David Lammy was happy to defend Sharon Shoesmith and Haringey Council even after this warning and after Baby P’s death (a defence that was prominent on both his website and in the links on his

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Haringey Chief Executive has worked at three councils where children’s services failed

Haringey Council Chief Executive Ita O’Donovan turns out to have held a senior post at three different councils where the children’s services were so poor that the Government had to intervene directly.

Not only is she currently the Chief Executive of Haringey Council, heavily criticised over the death of Baby P,  but she was previously City Manager (the most senior staff role) at Stoke-on-Trent where the Government warned children were being put at risk in the month she started at Haringey, and before that she was Assistant Chief Executive at Newham Council (1998-2001). In February 2001 the Government ordered the …

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Haringey Chief Executive Ita O’Donovan was in charge at Stoke just before its children services were condemned

Haringey Council Chief Executive, Ita O’Donovan was previously city manager at Stoke-on-Trent Council (the top staff person in their then directly elected Mayor system). Her departure to become Haringey Chief Executive was announced in November 2005, and Ita O’Donovan took up post in Haringey in March 2006.

And in that same month, March 2006, the then Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes wrote that council failings were putting children in Stoke at risk:

In one letter, dated 15 March 2006, the minister wrote to Mr Meredith saying a report into care provided by Stoke City Council showed there were “critical weaknesses”

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CommentIsLinked@LDV: Lynne Featherstone – ‘Put Haringey on probation now’

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, Lynne Featherstone MP writes about the devastating Baby P report into Haringey Council. Read it in full here, but here’s Lynne’s trenchant critique:

I have never seen such a damning and devastating criticism of an authority as this litany of failure – both systemic and personal, and at every level and, more or less, in every agency. But particularly singled out for special damnation: Haringey council. So, given all that, what an earth is Ed Balls doing commissioning more reports and waiting until next June before removing Haringey children’s services from council

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What do social workers think should happen following the death of Baby P?

From the BBC:

Eight out of 10 social workers who responded to a poll think new managers should be brought in at Haringey Council in the wake of Baby P’s death.

The Community Care website survey also found 86% of 250 respondents felt that the case of Baby P reflected wider childcare protection problems…

Community Care is a website and magazine for people working in the social care sector, at all levels of seniority.

Its readers’ poll found that 79% of respondents felt new managers should be brought in at Haringey Council following the Baby P

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Sky: Credit to Lynne over Baby P case

Here’s Jon Craig on Sky’s Boulton & Co blog:

Only one person emerges from the Baby P tragedy with credit: the Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone. Throughout this tawdry affair, in which the conduct of Haringey Council – Labour-run since 1971 – has been scandalous and the Government’s response sluggish until after the Brown-Cameron clash, she has campaigned with dignity and determination.

Just moments after that ill-tempered Commons bust-up between David Cameron and Gordon Brown, the Hornsey and Wood Green MP asked the Prime Minister a question in a measured but forthright tone.

As she pointed out, she was leader of the

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Baby P: CPS confirms information was withheld from the police by Haringey Council

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed The Times’s report that Haringey Council initially withheld information about the Baby P case from the police and lawyers:

It has also emerged Haringey Council did not disclose all information surrounding the case of Baby P to police and prosecutors until ordered to do so by a judge. A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “We can confirm that not everything was disclosed until the judge requested that everything should be disclosed at the beginning of the trial.” (The Telegraph)

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Baby P

After the horrific story of Baby P came out, where each detail seems to add yet another awful question (how can you get away with hiding injuries with chocolate smears? how can a doctor fail to notice that a baby’s back is broken?), and then the desperately unseemly sight of MPs bawling at each other across the House of Commons (what a collective failure of decency by those sitting behind Brown and Cameron who somehow thought that was an appropriate way to behave when the death of baby was being discussed), we now have this:

The Times has also learnt that

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