Walsall Council House (pic: Stuart Williams)

Walsall Council panel calls emergency meeting on children at risk

Walsall Council House

The Chair of Walsall’s Children and Young People Scrutiny and Performance Panel, Labour Councillor Barbara Cassidy, has called an emergency meeting to discuss a report which has condemned the council’s Safeguarding Children service.

The extraordinary meeting on 21 August will discuss the findings of a recent Ofsted inspection which, among many issues, criticised Walsall Council for failing to take youngsters known to be at risk into care.

Cllr Cassidy said she had used her authority to call the meeting following the revelations in the report which was published last week.

Explaining her decision in a Walsall Council Labour Group press release, Cllr Cassidy said:

“The scale and depth of the failings indentified by Ofsted are so serious that we simply can’t wait until the end of September and the next full council meeting to begin to tackle these problems.

“I have therefore called this emergency meeting to allow members to assess the true scale of the situation the service faces and begin to formulate a cross-party response to meet the needs of children in council care.

“We don’t have time to spare if we are to get this right.”

Her decision has the full support of Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of the Labour Group on the authority, who said:

“This appalling state of affairs warrants a recall of all elected members for an emergency full council, but the power for that rests with the Tory and Lib Dem coalition leadership.  In the absence of such a move, Cllr Cassidy’s call is showing the urgency and determination we need to address this truly awful situation.”