Employees of the children’s services department employees at a West Yorkshire council have announced plans to go on strike.
Child protection services at Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council was given a poor rating by Ofsted in November. The inspectorate declared that:
“Services for vulnerable children in Kirklees are inadequate, due to serious and widespread failures which result in some children not being protected or having their needs met.”
Managers and councillors were aware of the problems it claimed, but at the time of the inspection, attempted improvements had not yet had any real effect on the lives of vulnerable children.
Following publication of the report, the Department for Education appointed a new Commissioner to oversee child protection services. Director of children services Sarah Callaghan also announced her resignation.
Now staff members plan to strike over working conditions later this month, Children & Young People Now reports. Spokesman Paul Holmes said:
“People are resigning. People leave in droves. Agency workers can turn stuff down and walk away. The permanent workers can’t. They feel responsible for something that they feel is unsafe. We don’t want any children to be at risk.”
Kirklees consists of the old mill town of Huddersfield and surrounding villages.