West Sussex Labour Group Leader Michael Jones has written to the Chair of West Sussex County Council requesting an extraordinary meeting of the county council is convened at the earliest opportunity after the publication of the report on children’s services by the Commissioner appointed by the Government is published by the Department of Education.
West Sussex County Council is soon to have the final report on it published by the Commissioner appointed by the Government, John Coughlan, on the failures which brought the council’s children’s services to an inadequate rating by Ofsted.
- County councillors were given copies of the Commissioner John Coughlan’s final report at a meeting at County Hall, last Friday.
- Although the report has been finalised, it is still embargoed and not available for public consumption because of the purdah period requirements on national government departments because of the General Election.
- Labour West Sussex county councillors are so disturbed about the contents of this report that they have formally written to Chairman of the county council Janet Duncton (Con, Petworth) using the council’s procedures to requisition an extraordinary meeting of the Full Council so that all councillors can debate it in depth and to reflect the seriousness such a significant document deserves.
- Under the council’s rules, five councillors have to send a requisition to the Chairman. The five Labour councillors who have sent the request are Labour Group Leader on West Sussex County Council Michael Jones (Southgate and Gossops Green), Brenda Smith (Langley Green and Ifield East), Chris Oxlade (Bewbush and Ifield West), Brian Quinn (Broadfield) and Karen Sudan (Northgate and West Green).
Speaking after making the request, Councillor Michael Jones said: “The report contains devastating conclusions on this county council which are too important not to be debated and at a time as urgently as we can following the official publication of the report by the Department of Education.
“We need a dedicated meeting, there’s too much other important business already allocated for discussion at the next two scheduled full council meetings, including setting the budget in February, to give it the time it deserves.
“This needs time, it needs transparency and it needs this council to accept the scale of the problems and the wider issues which when the public see the report, they will be demanding something is done.
“So much of this so far has been shrouded in secrecy, and people need answers. They also want to see their local representatives taking this seriously and in a public forum, not behind closed doors. This request by the Labour Group will deliver that.”