Friday 28 July 2017

The Friday Joke 28/07/2017 - Councillor Rueben Thompstone delivers a cracker

"It's the way you tell them" Rube T

Today we have a special edition of the Friday Joke. Have you ever read something and thought "what planet is he on?" for saying something so bizarrely bonkers that it's crass idiocy takes about half an hour to sink in. The Grenfell Tower has given us a graphic demonstration of what happens when incompetence infects a council. In Barnet, we have our own incompetence scandal. The childrens services department is responsible for all manner of vital services forvulnerable young people. The Councillor in charge of the committee running it, gets a £25,000 a year "special responsibility allowance". One would rather hope that the council would appoint a person of high calibre to do such an important function, wouldnt you? The Barnet Conservatives appointed Councillor Rueben Thompstone (pictured right). Does he meet this expectation?

In 2012 OFSTED rated Barnet Council safeguarding as good

In 2017 Barnet Council children's services has been rated as inadequate by OFSTED 

In response to this tragic decline, The Barnet Labour group presented a motion of no confidence in Mr Thompstone, quite reasonable in light of this tragic failure of service in his watch. In response, Mr Thompstone gave the following, quite bizarre quote to the Barnet Times, following the last minute intervention of the Mayor of Barnet to save him in the no confidence vote. His response to this attempt to hold him to account was the biggest joke in the history of the Barnet Tories (and that is saying something). He told the Barnet Times.

 "This is another example of an incompetent Labour Group sniping from the sidelines without offering any constructive alternatives.
"The fact they wanted to sack the man responsible for actually turning around our children’s services shows just how little they can be trusted to run this borough." 
The turnaround he managed from Good to Inadequate is not something any sensible person would boast about. You really couldn't make it up.


Anonymous said...

Actually you could make it up. He was talking about Chris Munday, whose post Labour wanted to delete in their March alternative budget. Here's what Ofsted said about him:

"The extent of the decline was not fully recognised until the recently appointed director of children’s services commissioned a diagnostic review of the service in January 2016 and entered into a collegiate partnership with a local authority that is able to share considerable, relevant social work knowledge and expertise."

"Recognition and action taken by the director of children’s services in January 2016 enabled senior leaders to understand the depth and breadth of the service failures. As a result, the local authority has commenced an improvement programme to promote wholescale organisational and cultural change, focusing on creating the right environment for effective social work to develop."

Rog T said...

Dear Anonymous commentator, Rueben Thompstone gets paid a £25k allowance for responsibility. The buck stops at his door for the fiasco. Bringing Munday into the conversation is a crass attempt to try and deflect attention from the fact that he has presided over a complete fiasco. Maybe you'd care to tell us who you are and have a grown up, rational conversation about responsibility and accountability. Thompstone has been a disaster in this role, his own colleagues even voted against him over his policies in regard to Mapledown school, a rare occurrence in Barnet Tory universe. Several Barnet Tory councillors have privately told me that they have no confidence in him. Sadly they did not vote according to their conscience here

Mr Reasonable said...

Dear Anonymous, You are right that Labour wanted to delete the post of "Commissioning Director Children & Young People" along with the "Commissioning Director Adults & Health". What you fail to mention is the context and, more importantly, that that is exactly what the Conservative group did in May (see the General Function Committee meeting details of 3 May 2017). The issue wasn't about getting rid of Chris Munday but about the role. There was both a Family Services Director and a Commissioning Director. What I understand Labour were proposing was a consolidation of the role to make the director more directly involved with the running of the service. They must have been saying something right because that is exactly what the Tory group introduced in May. The clear consensus at the meeting which discussed the Ofsted report was that the problems were brought about by the restructuring which took place in 2014. In 2012 the service had a "Good" rating from Oftsed but in 2014 the Tory group restructured the service to save money. Reuben Thompstone was Chairman when that restructuring was introduced. How he can avoid responsibility is beyond me.