Is there anyone actually left at Salford Council looking after the city's most vulnerable kids?
Michael Kemp's resignation, as Head of Children's Protection Service, is the latest in a long line of people who have left the Council in the wake of constant criticism from all quarters of its ability to safeguard children.
The criticism goes back to 2005, when internal Council reports (in response to the outcry and subsequent report around Victoria Climbie in 2003) stated that the Council "has had to limit provision (on child protection) for children in need" and that "early intervention is almost impossible..."
In almost every year since then Salford Council's safeguarding service has come in for criticism. In November 2007 an OFSTED Report stated that "the council's services for supporting children and young people to stay safe are inadequate".
And in spring 2008 John Merry, Leader of Salford Council, assured readers of the Salford Star that "I'm making changes to make sure that never happens again". A few months after this appeared Demi Leigh was murdered.
In the wake of yet more reports criticising the Council, Jill Baker, the Head of Children's Services, was sacked and more resignations followed. Councillor John Warmisham, Lead Member for Children's Services has since been shunted into Adult Services. But the problems are ongoing…
This month the Salford Star reported that Salford Council's latest `Strategic Risk Register' put safeguarding in a red High Risk box, stating "Practice in safeguarding children may develop with insufficient pace or sustainability", while a highly confidential Child Protection case study was found lying the street. And the Manchester Evening News reported that the next OFSTED Report on Salford's Children's Services will give yet another `inadequate' rating.
Now Michael Kemp, in charge of safeguarding Salford's most vulnerable children has resigned. But, as the Salford Star has pointed out many times over the past few years, those directly responsible and accountable for Children's Services at Salford Council are still in position – namely John Merry, Leader of Salford City Council, and Barbara Spicer, Chief Executive.
Meanwhile, the problems with safeguarding our kids continue…
In a Council committee meeting around Safeguarding in April, Councillor Gray expressed concern "regarding one of the locality teams that should have eight health workers in the team but does not have any".
In a Council statement on Michael Kemp's resignation, Nick Page, acting strategic director of children's services, said: "It is not appropriate for me to comment on someone's personal decision to leave the authority. Michael was the head of service for child protection for more than six years and I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next."
The full Salford Star history of Salford Council's inadequate service in safeguarding our kids can be found by clicking...Here and Here and Here and Here
Updated 21st June 2010 - click here