Sutton Council boss walks out following vulnerable children report
A top council boss has walked out following a damning report into the way Sutton Council looks after the borough's most vulnerable children.
Stephen Richards, executive head of children and families decided to leave Sutton Council "in order to pursue fresh challenges", two days after the damning Ofsted report was published.
An inspection of the council's safeguarding and looked after children services in April this year uncovered a host of problems.
The report's findings, published in May, found "the overall effectiveness of safeguarding services is inadequate" and concluded there had been "managerial oversight at all levels".
Earlier this month, Richmond Council took charge of Kingston Council's children's services after it was named London's worst council for safeguarding children in its version of the report.
Richmond council's director of children's services became joint director for both boroughs after Kingston received an "inadequate" score for the overall effectiveness for safeguarding children and
"adequate" score for looked-after children.
Sutton council received the same scores for the same categories but no such drastic measures were taken.
At a meeting with the Sutton Guardian, Sutton council officials were keen to point out its score for capacity for improvement, which was deemed "adequate" - a score again matched by Kingston.
Kingston, although it received a worse report overall, in fact beat Sutton in one category.
In Sutton, of the 22 areas in the report, the council was deemed adequate in 16, inadequate in four, and in only two areas was it seen as good.
Kingston saw seven areas deemed inadequate, 13 adequate and two deemed good.
There are 153 of the borough's most vulnerable children under the council's care, 47 per cent of which have suffered emotional abuse, 43 per cent have suffered neglect and 2 per cent sexual abuse.
There are no children's homes in the borough and so the council relies on foster carers and reports from schools and police to flag up children who need help.
A Sutton Council spokesperson said: "The circumstances of Sutton and Kingston councils are not the same. In Sutton, both political parties signed a joint statement and are working together to put things right. We are being relentless in implementing a detailed action plan backed with new resources."
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