My Blog for the Herald and Post:-
What has gone wrong at the County Council?
The County is having to set an undeliverable budget!
This is a Tory County Council with a Tory Government in a sea of Tory Constituencies and Districts. The one exception is Labour Corby. We live in Toryland.
Mistake number 1.
The Conservatives have frozen the council tax for years. Not only has this failed to keep up with the rate of inflation it has had a cumulative and hugely negative impact on the County’s base budget. We are £millions down.
Mistake number 2.
The Tories at the County believe in the Free Market. This has led to a free market in Social Workers and other key staff. Social work agencies charge a huge amount of money. Agency staff earn a huge amount of money. Agency staff cost the county a huge amount of money and are rarely around long enough to deliver a quality service to our children.
Mistake number 3.
The Tories believe efficiency and change needs to be driven by temporary, interim, highly paid managers. This has led to abrupt and constant changes in policy. Changes in personnel, lack of consistency and continuity. Big Costs. Poor services.
Mistake number 4.
A lack of confidence in locally provided services. This has led to the folly of commissioning services. There are a number of problems with this. The county has no expertise in commissioning. The result has been most of our commissioned services have gone to large national organisations. We have lost local intelligence, local expertise, and local capacity. We have lost a huge amount of social capital.
Mistake number 5.
Services that are commissioned out need to be quality assured, monitored for outcomes and reviewed. There are no resources in the county to do that effectively. So we have more expensive services that are not adequately monitored and less effective.
Mistake number 6.
Failure of partnership working. Working with partners in the voluntary sector to co design and co-deliver services would have produced a better outcome and been cheaper.
Mistake number 7.
Failure to work collaboratively with the LAs in the county. The county seems to have adopted a big brother attitude to the districts and boroughs. This has worked against the interest of the people in the county and failed to deliver strategic, collaborative and money saving schemes.
Mistake number 8.
The failure of number 5 and 6 has led to a failure to draw in additional external funds and government funds to support our services.
Mistake number 9.
A failure to invest to save. We need more spent on support, early help and prevention for children and vulnerable adults. We need social prescriptions and social brokerage. We need more childrens homes. More care homes. More foster carers. More investment infrastructure.
Mistake number 10.
This Tory County were expecting to be bailed out by their Tory Government. This proved to be a false hope. No bail out. No money.