Councillor Patricia Bamford under fire after Kingston's child safeguarding rated worst in London
The councillor responsible for Kingston Council’s children and young people has been called on to resign after a damning Ofsted report into child protection.
Kingston Council’s social workers are reviewing case files to make sure no child is in danger in the light of the “inadequate” rating, made public this morning.
The council is now rated lower than Haringey, the authority accused of failing to save Baby P and is the only London authority to receive an "inadequate" rating for safeguarding children.
Councillor Patricia Bamford told the Surrey Comet she would not resign despite calls from the Conservative opposition to do so.
The Liberal Democrat councillor expressed disappointment at the results and pledged the service would be restored to high standards.
She said: “I was shocked and deeply disappointed that we had let our residents, and more importantly, our vulnerable children down, but it is time to rise to the challenge and put things right.
“I have always taken my responsibilities very seriously and will continue to do so.”
Conservative leader Howard Jones said he was shocked and appalled by the report.
He said: “The quality of our safeguarding has nosedived from outstanding to inadequate during the stewardship of lead member for children and young people Patricia Bamford.
“Coun Bamford should resign.”
And councillor Andrea Craig, shadow member for children and young people, said: “We are now below Haringey and are the worst borough in London for safeguarding which is horrific.”
According to the report, in one case a vulnerable young person regularly went missing despite information suggesting she had been putting herself at considerable risk, and in another instance a case was closed despite a young person suffering significant harm.
The council also reportedly failed to deal properly with a domestic violence murder.
Leader of the council Derek Osbourne said he believed the opposition had not read the report properly as credit was given to Patricia Bamford and the administration within it, and said that certain opposition members had been privy to the same information as them throughout the report process.
He said: “Patricia Bamford is the person Ofsted will have confidence in in turning this around. What is the benefit in wanting to remove somebody in whom Ofsted has confidence?”