Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Wednesday, 20 November 2013

OFSTED inspectors give 20 hours notice of 4 week probe into Slough Council's children's services

Council bosses worried OFSTED may find more child protection failures

Report by Amanda Fox

Following the sensational and shocking 2011 OFSTED report which stated Slough's Bad Council (SBC) performance was:-

Overall effectiveness = Grade 4 (Inadequate)

which meant in ordinary language, the council was weak, ineffective and failing to protect children in its care, council bosses now desperately hope the next OFSTED report will shown some long-overdue improvement.

In 2011 the Council's director for Children's and Families' services was Claire Pyper. Mrs Pyper subsequently left the council with a bonus of circa £250,000 agreed in total secrecy by anonymous council individuals using the public's money. Former long-serving councillor Richard Stokes described the Labour council's regular habit of secret payments as spending public funds to generously reward the staff's personal failures.

OFSTED's 2013 Inspection

On Tuesday 19 November 2013, OFSTED contacted the council saying they will be arriving at 09:00 hours next day, to begin their 4 week inspection.

Shocked council bosses held an emergency meeting.

The council's top officials quickly asked staff to be on their best behaviour:-

The inspection is important for the council so we would ask you all to be welcoming and helpful to the inspectors whenever the opportunity arises.

Once again it seems that basic good manners and civil courtesy are not normal behaviour at the council. Otherwise there would be no need for the council's top bosses to ask staff to be nice to official visitors from a government agency.

Conscious of their poor internal security standards, which some say shows how sloppy and indifferent the council's top management is, council bosses then instructed staff:-

Please be particularly conscious of things such as security (make sure you have ID badges and that you challenge those who do not), data protection and other confidentiality issues.

In any well run organisation security, data protection and 'confidentiality issues' are a routine part of every working day. Slough's Bad Council (SBC) reminder to staff is an admission that council bosses have failed to implement basic security, proper data protection and sensitive handling of confidential material. If OFSTED was not visiting the council, it is most likely council bosses would not have bothered to remind its staff of security, data protection and confidentiality.

OFSTED will primarily be checking

  • Child protection
  • Children in need (rather ambiguous)
  • Children being looked-after by the council
  • Grown-up children leaving the council's care
  • The council's adoption service
  • The council's fostering service

The OFSTED team will work from the council's 51 Bath Road headquarters known as St Martin's Place ('SMP' in council code). However this arrangement is creating a problem because of the failings of the Labour-run council's Accommodation Strategy. Like most of Labour bright ideas it is a confusing mess because there is no space for the OFSTED investigators. Consequently council staff are being asked to relocate and give-up rooms for OFSTED use.