Worthing councillor resigns from role after inadequate children’s services rating

Michael Cloake
Michael Cloake

A Worthing councillor has resigned as a committee chairman at County Hall after West Sussex children’s services were rated inadequate.

Ofsted’s report, which was published last month, described ‘long-standing, widespread and serious weaknesses’ in the provision of services to some of the most vulnerable children in the county, and listed a dozen areas which needed improvement.

The Department for Education has now officially appointed a commissioner to work with West Sussex County Council to ensure the improvements are put in place.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of the county council, survived a vote of no confidence tabled by the Lib Dems today (Friday June 7).

However before the meeting Michael Cloake stepped down as chairman of the children and young people’s select committee, announcing the news on his website.

He said: “In the last week much has been made of the role of scrutiny and any part it has had to play in the failings of the service.

“It is my view that scrutiny has been both challenging and robust from the committee, but I also fully accept that where there were failings we must accept responsibility and own up to our weaknesses so that they may not be repeated in the future.

“The Oftsed report highlights that scrutiny at the authority ‘was not sufficiently rigorous’ and it is important for the committee to accept and recognise this, and work to find ways of measuring the ‘real’ impact and outcomes of the statistics it is presented with, and to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of any reported progress.”

He added: “I have made some great friends in the service and I have witnessed first hand excellent work well over and above job descriptions being undertaken by the workforce day in, day out. I am honoured to have had the chance to work with you all and humbled by the vital work you do.”