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Sunday, April 14, 2013



'Baby P' brutally abused during his short tragic life and then murdered.
Haringey former deputy director, childrens services heads for Peterborough on a £90K salary....  
News reaches us that Jason Owen, the convicted murderer of 'Baby P' in the London Borough of Haringey has broken the terms of his release on licence and has been returned to jail. Hopefully they will throw away the key. Meanwhile within Peterborough serious questions need to be asked over the Peterborough City Council appointment on a £90,000:00 salary of  Haringey London Borough Deputy Director of Childrens Services Debbie Haith.

After a shortlist of just two candidates was put up by headhunters Gatenby Sanderson, Deborah Haith was given the £90K role. Clearly Ms Haith has a well maintained bicycle, as she was previously with another London Borough - Hillingdon, in a like capacity. She also has experience of closing down childrens centres, according to official documents released by her London employers.

Front Line Social Workers (Degree preferred) are also being recruited - Click this link - if you wish to apply    The pay is however slightly less ranging from £28,636 to £31,754  

FULL STORY: Click on the Read More icon below

This how the PCC minutes record the decision:


Two candidates were interviewed for the post of Assistant Director - Children’s Services Safeguarding Families and Communities.

RESOLVED: to appoint Ms Debbie Haith, who was previously employed as Deputy Director of Children’s Services at the London Borough of Haringey.   Salary £90K

And this how an 'advertorial' dresses up the post. If it wasn't so serious you can add your own witty punch line to "its newly created leadership team." Which still in part relies on  substantial fee-earning Interim contractors - the PCC's Sue Westcott will have hopefully clicked this link, and read the new regulations regarding the hire of interims through personal service and umbrella companies.

Still hanging on...Sheila Scott OBE

Last time we looked Tory party agent and Cllr Sheila Scott OBE was 'still hanging on' and in charge, having ignored multiple calls for her resignation, coupled with a number of shambolic committee appearances, and the all time car crash of a radio interview on BBC Cambridgeshire, now being used worldwide, as a teaching aid, by a major broadcasting college.  

Peterborough City Council is looking to recruit a dynamic, creative, focused Assistant Director
of Children’s Services with a lead in Safeguarding to join its newly created leadership team. 
The new post holder will be part of the newlyassembled leadership team, alongside Sue Westcott as Director of Children’s Services, and Assistant Directors leading on Strategic Commissioning / Prevention and Education and Resources. 
We now have a high calibre Leadership Team in place. The successful postholder will be someone who is energetic, passionate about outcomes and will drive up performance and standards. They will have a background in social care and could well be someone who is probably at head of service level and is looking to make the next step. 
Someone who really wants to be part of a genuine transformation that is already in motion. The service has been vastly improved since the last Ofsted inspection: our front door is unrecognisable from where it was, with clear systems, processes and necessary staff to manage the work. We have a new Children Commissioning Group and a range of early support and prevention services. We are raising quality of assessments and care planning bolstered by multi-agency interventions which are outcome focused. This is making a real impact on our communities and our children and families. 
Our confidence comes from the fact that we have strengthened performance in a number of critical areas within Children’s Services. We now have robust and timely assessments informing multiagency intervention and a range of support services to help children and families. Our vision is to help children in Peterborough to be their best and our priorities moving forward are: providing children and families with early support; helping families with problems and keeping children safe; giving the best opportunities to children and young people in care; working with schools and others to make sure children succeed; supporting our staff to be outstanding. 
There is also clear resource commitment and support from the Lead Portfolio Holders, Chief
Executive, Chief Officers and all elected Members. This Member engagement ensures that Children’s Services will continue to get better and better. We know we have some way to go to move to Outstanding but the foundations are there. 
We are now focusing on the quality of assessment intervention and the outcomes we are trying to achieve. This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a thriving service which is going places. A service which will continue to serve the diverse and complex needs of its most vulnerable children. In the last twelve months Peterborough Children’s Services has undergone rapid change and has made considerable progress following an inadequate Ofsted inspection in 2011. With a new vision and a renewed set of priorities, we are moving forward with confi dence. There is a new Senior Leadership Team in place; your appointment will be the final piece.

Then the London head hunters Gatenby Sanderson added their spin to the post.

There is a clear understanding politically of the tasks ahead and the determination to sustain the trajectory.

This commitment to safeguarding and supportive relationship with elected councillors
provides a positive climate moving forward.

Our Commissioning Framework will drive the implementation of our approach to Early Intervention and Prevention as well as ensuring that opportunities to align, coordinate and integrate services and resources are fully and productively realised. All towards one objective – Helping
Children be their best.

This is no easy job but one where there is huge scope to make an impact, where you can make things happen and be part of a real success story that is already in motion.

You will have recent and relevant experience of the safeguarding agenda, what’s more important is that you also have the leadership credentials, and drive to lead the service through significant change and help us face the future in a confident manner.

Above all, you will be committed to delivering a brighter future for all the diverse children and young people in Peterborough. For further details, please visit or
contact Jon Houlihan on 0121 644 5710. Closing date: 25th February 2013.

+++ STOP PRESS +++

We have since had an exchange of e-mails with the new Childrens Services Postholder:  Sue Westcott,  Executive Director, Children's Services (Salary £125k)

15th April 2013

Dear Susan Westcott 

First of all welcome to your new appointment as Executive Director Children's Services (in these times of an austerity budget and savage cuts) on a salary of £125,000:00. Congratulations, we wish you well. 

Secondly, the blog isn't in the control or a tool of the council and exists to shine a light on the many dark corners that seem to exist, in our part of the world, and to ensure we have full public debate of all important issues and on that basis your contribution is more than welcome. 

Thirdly, we are always happy to immediately correct any inaccuracies. However I have to say that having read your e-mail several times,  for someone on a reported salary of £125,000:00  it is a decidedly poor effort. Perhaps you might like to read the blog again, and correct your own errors, ie recast it. 

I have for the sake of clarity and balance, already added your e-mail as a comment to the blogpost, and will also add this further note so that we all have a full picture in the interim period, until you can supply a corrected version of your flawed communication not in our view based on matters of fact as far as our blogpost is concerned. 

Clearly by your assertion you have not read the blog in full or understood the purpose of 'public interest' and the need for your department to redeem itself, the latest OFSTED review as you well know isn't brilliant at all, but in effect shows that you have, in our opinion, just scraped through, this time.  

I am happy to debate this with you, if you are still confused by the OFSTED grading system, simply there are several more upper levels or hurdles for your department to overcome. You are now in effect on the foot of the ladder.  

This recent article from Nursery World   may assist:

Ofsted grades should not be used on their own by local authorities or parents when assessing the quality of childcare an early years setting provides. 
Research published today cautions against decisions about quality based on using Ofsted grades alone, and said this was particularly important for local authorities making decisions about funding and commissioning providers. 
Parents should also be given extra guidance to help them understand early years practice so that they know what to look for when visiting settings, and understand the role and remit of Ofsted. 
The study by the Daycare Trust, the University of Oxford and A+ Education found that there can be a large difference between Ofsted grades and how other measures rate settings. 
It said that Ofsted grades are too broad to give parents a detailed measure of the quality of childcare and recommends that other quality assurance schemes should be taken into account by parents to help them choose nurseries and childminders. 
It said that Ofsted ratings should be used alongside other quality assessments, such as ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale) and ITERS (Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale) 
Focus groups were carried out with parents, providers and local authorities to find out how these different measures were understood. 
Some settings judged outstanding or good by Ofsted were given a lower rating on the ECERS and ITERS scales. 
The study’s authors say that this could lead to implications for funding, as Ofsted ratings are used by many local authorities to decide which early years settings receive free entitlement funding. 
Local authorities should consequently use a range of measures when allocating funding, particularly when making decisions about choosing which settings should offer free childcare places for disadvantaged two-year-olds. 
Sandra Mathers, lead researcher from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford and Director of A+ Education Ltd said, ‘We should not forget that Ofsted is a regulatory tool rather than a detailed quality measure. Our research suggests that ‘Ofsted grades cannot necessarily be relied upon as complete measure of quality, and may need to be complemented by other measures.' 
‘This has important implications for the way in which funding decisions around early education are made, and particularly the free entitlement for disadvantaged two-year- olds.’

Simply,  I put you to full proof as to where the Trib suggests that Ms Haith was employed at the time of the Baby P tragedy?  Simply it does not, your assertion falls at the first hurdle. We do however make reference to the environment the London Borough of Haringey now finds itself in. 

Ms Haith however was in post at Haringey, during the extended fallout and reconstruction from the earlier series of incidents. But we don't dwell on that point. We have substantial material. 

Our major concern is that Ms Haith was selected from a board of just two candidates, and was offered the role at a salary of £ 90,000:00 and we suggested that questions need to be asked. We quote extensively from your own official published sources and setting out in full 'the rose tinted prose' used by your headhunters and the council to 'big up' the task ahead.   

You rightly point out that Ms Haith arrived from Hillingdon and this is also mentioned in our blog. We would also respectfully suggest you have a look at the many  FoI freedom of information requests laid at Ms Haiths door whilst she was al Hillingdon and her less than illuminating responses. They follow a pattern. There are volumes of documents with Ms Haiths' imprint available on the internet.  

As for your 'communications team' they are too busy with the Town Hall Pravda. They  have long had our contact numbers and they are more than welcome to keep us up to date on matters. In all the years that the blog has been running,  we've not had a single call or communication from them - ever.  Still my door is always open...

Kind regards

Julian Bray

Susan Westcott writes:

I am writing to take serious issue with an item on your website ‘Peterborough Tribune’ relating to the appointment of Ms Debbie Haith.

Your article suggests that Ms Haith was deputy director at Haringey Council at the time of the death of Baby P. This is wholly inaccurate.  

Baby P died in August 2007 and it was three years later in August 2010 that Ms Haith was appointed Assistant Director for Haringey. Ms Haith was employed by Haringey Council to improve Social Care and was successful in significant change, resulting in removal from government intervention in February 2012 and a positive Ofsted inspection. At the London Borough of Hillingdon, Ms Haith led the service which was judged ‘good’ by Ofsted. As such, Ms Haith comes with excellent credentials in making significant and substantial changes in Social Care. This is an excellent appointment for Peterborough City Council and I am absolutely sure that Ms Haith will greatly assist us with the improvements already made in Social Care.

As a result, please can you remove the posting on your website immediately. Could you also make it absolutely clear that the comments made relating to Ms Haith’s appointment were inaccurate and that she was appointed three years after the death of Baby P. and was brought in to lead on Haringey’s improvement in Social Care.

As I am sure you are aware, Children’s Services in Peterborough have made great strides forward in recent months. Inaccurate articles such as this compromise this department and diminish its credibility, not least for children and families.

In future, if you receive information such as this, our Communications team would be more than happy to confirm the facts of the situation prior to you posting an item publically. 

I would appreciate knowing that you have received this email and have rectified the situation.

Sue Westcott
Executive Director Children's Services
Peterborough City Council
3rd Floor Bayard Place, Broadway
Peterborough, PEI IFB

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ampoon (lampoon) Pronunciation: /lamˈpuːn/ verb [with object] publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm: the actor was lampooned by the press noun a speech or text lampooning someone or something: the magazine fired at God, Royalty, and politicians, using cartoons and lampoons.

Derivatives: lampooner noun lampoonery noun lampoonist noun Origin: mid 17th century: from French lampon, said to be from lampons 'let us drink' (used as a refrain), from lamper 'gulp down', nasalized form of laper 'to lap (liquid).


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