Labour Group oppose Tory move to water down support for children in care

Hillingdon Conservatives are watering down support for children in care, said Hillingdon Labour Group last night after the Council scrapped the Corporate Parenting Board as part of their constitutional restructure. The Labour Group put down an amendment to remove the section on changing the Corporate Parenting Board, but were outvoted by the Conservatives.

The Council instead placed the responsibilities within the Social Care, Housing and Public Health Policy Overview Committee (POC). This board allowed ordinary people such as foster carers and looked after children to get involved at quarterly meetings, and the change to grouping it with a POC increases the difficulty for their involvement.

Speaking out against the change, Labour’s Children, Young People and Learning spokesperson Councillor Jan Sweeting said:

“This Conservative Council claims to put residents first, but they’ve been elected less than a week and they’re already letting down the youngest in our Borough.

“All Hillingdon Councillors are corporate parents and have a duty to protect the children in our care. Watering down the Board to a smaller panel that sits within another committee proves that the Conservatives simply do not view it as a priority.”

The Council has also removed the Children, Young People and Learning POC, by splitting up the Committee and placing Education into the existing Residents’ and Environmental Services POC, and children’s social care into the Social Care, Housing and Health POC. Labour argues that this is an attempt to hide detail from fellow Councillors and residents by creating two committees that could be too broad to effectively scrutinise.

The Conservatives have also reduced the number of Labour representatives on the new Residents, Education and Environmental POC and the Social Care, Housing and Public Health POC, further reducing Labour’s ability to scrutinise decisions made that affect the most vulnerable in Hillingdon.

Labour Group Leader, Councillor Peter Curling said:

“It has always been the case the Hillingdon Conservatives have tried to evade scrutiny of their decisions, but reducing opposition input on issue such as social care, children’s services and health will only put vulnerable people more at risk due to the lack of scrutiny we will be able to carry out over this administration.

“Despite the reduction, the Labour Group will continue to work as hard as we can with the resources we have to stand up for and protect the most vulnerable in this Borough.”