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Bonkers Blog June 2015

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28 June (Part 1) - Bexley’s Children’s Services. Still generating discontent

Highlighting anything to do with Bexley council’s children’s services is a guaranteed way of provoking a response from readers. There is a lot of discontent about.

Three months ago I hired a room so that several aggrieved parents could meet and share information, identify the biggest liars among Bexley council’s social workers etc. I hoped that the parents might learn something from each other to help combat the dishonesty among Bexley council’s staff which they were all so concerned about.

I have heard of some parents making a little progress since then but it is obviously a subject which cannot be reported without prejudicing the outcomes and anonymity must be a priority. Social workers must not know which of them might eventually get a mention in these pages.

However publishing this email from within Bexley council cannot do any harm.

They stopped overtly sacking people and changed to just moving them out but if you compare 2012’s organisational structure to a later one you can see how many heads rolled.

Three heads of service - Ruth Murdoch; Mel Newell and Brendan Ring and several senior managers - too many for this to be coincidental.

The extent to which Sheila Murphy will go to sanitise findings is shown by her appointment of Rory Patterson as Independent Chair of the Serious Case Review published in 2013.

He was her former line manager who remains a personal friend with whom she regularly has dinner.

Far from independent and a disgusting choice in respect of a review that should focus on the well being of a child, the performance of social care and lessons learned - and not back-covering. There was a report some years ago - the Betts report - which identified significant areas of improvement within Bexley Children's Services. - it was commissioned by the council but buried by Murphy who continues to refute any criticism about the way in which her service is operating.

Nick Johnson would never have allowed this to happen on his watch.

Nick Johnson was the previous Chief Executive. I can only assume that Betts is councillor Nigel Betts. Sheila Murphy is the current Director for Children’s Services who has been widely reported to be a close confidante of council leader Teresa O’Neill.

There is more that could be published about the department that councillor Philip Read is so keen to demonstrate is transformed. Maybe it is but its past is shameful and that past lingers on to the detriment of many families.


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