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Brentwood Liberal Democrats

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Tory-controlled Essex County Council: Inadequate at keeping children safe whilst excelling at "spin"

December 21, 2008 7:28 PM
Beer mats

ECC spend money on promotional beer mats whilst some children's services are rated inadequate by OFSTED

Brentwood's Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily to the news that Essex County Council has been given a damning 'inadequate' grade by the government's inspectors OFSTED for child protection whilst being the ninth highest spending council on marketing and PR in the country.

The inspectors concluded that the council's recruitment and vetting of staff working with children was poor and that it failed to learn from its mistakes when dealing with complaints. The rating given does not even meet the minimum requirements and is at the same level as Haringey Council. By contrast, according to a report from the Taxpayer's Alliance following a Freedom of Information request, the county council has spent just under £4.8m on running press offices, promoting services and paying for adverts, compared to an average council spend of £970K.

Cllr David Kendall, Lib Dem Group Leader on Brentwood Council, said:

"These are tough times, but Tory-controlled Essex County Council have spent nearly £5m of council tax payer's money on "spin" whilst letting their child protection standard fall to an inadequate level. This is absolutely nothing to be proud of and people need to consider if this really is how they want their money spent by the Conservative administration at county.

"Recently, I picked up an ECC beer mat in Brentwood that asked drinkers to call Essex Council and tell them how you want your money spent. I would suggest this is rather obvious: on services and not on spin."

"Our Conservative County Councillors seem to be more concerned about getting their faces in the press than concentrating on the fundamental needs of their most vulnerable residents, our children".

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