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‘Shocking & disappointing’ West Sussex Labour leaders damning words after Ofsted report

After Ofsted ruled West Sussex’s Children’s Services as inadequate the Labour Leader at West Sussex County Council, Cllr Michael
Jones has made a damning statement.



Cllr Michael Jones says:

“This is a dark day for the council. It is both shocking and disappointing
how badly West Sussex County Council has been rated by Ofsted.

Never before have I read a more damning inspection report. This simply is
unacceptable and indefensible.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is as much to do with the cuts to
services forced on this council by the Tory Government’s austerity measures, but this Tory administration must also take its responsibility as they have presided over this calamitous decline in standards.

I previously had my strong concerns about the delays in dealing with issues
by overstretched social workers, when time was crucial, and this report
bears that out.

I am particularly angry therefore that the Tory majority on the council
voted against Labour’s budget proposals to give social workers more help to cut down the heavy administrative burden earlier this year, so that they
could concentrate on social work rather than paperwork.

It is important to stress that none of this is the fault of the social workers themselves, they have worked professionally and been dedicated under almost impossible pressures.

The failures are in political leadership and corporate restructuring, both
of which are the responsibility of those at the highest level. My first
reaction is that resignations of those responsible would be appropriate, my
second is that the inadequacies contained in this report need to be
addressed with the greatest of urgency and the council should spend whatever is necessary.

Finally I am calling for an investigation to identify those children who
have suffered prolonged neglect, including those taken from their families
when babies because robust plans were not in place to safeguard their
welfare, and those 16 and 17 year olds who were eligible for accommodation when leaving care but were not made aware. These children must be supported to achieve in life having been let down.

The political and corporate leadership have failed these children and young people – they may also be entitled to be compensated.”


Crawley police use golf buggies to track down suspected vehicle thieves in Tilgate Park

The resourceful officers were very grateful to Tilgate Golf Club for allowing them to use the buggies.



When needed the local police are proving to be very resourceful and none more so when needing to track down suspects fleeing through a large wooded area.

After a silver Ford Transit van was reported stolen from London on Thursday, 8 August it was seen on Sunday, 11 August at 4.20pm travelling north on the A23 towards Crawley.

It failed to stop for officers and was followed to the Tilgate area of the town, where the driver and two men ran off on foot. The driver was quickly detained.

During a subsequent search for the two passengers, which took in the nearby Tilgate Forest golf course, resourceful officers utilised three golf buggies to help facilitate the search.

Tweeting their thanks to the golf club they said:

One man was detained but the third suspect has yet to be traced.

A 15-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man, both from Orpington in the London borough of Bromley, were arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle.

Both have since been released under investigation, with enquiries now being handled by the Metropolitan Police.

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