In 2015 I sat in court at the Old Bailey and listened to some of the most unspeakable things.
Those things had happened to young girls in Aylesbury, vulnerable girls who Bucks County Council’s children’s services department were aware of. After six men were found guilty of a string of historic child sex crimes dating back to the early 2000s - the council apologised for its failure in missing vital signs and opportunities to protect those girls.
In 2014 - a year before - children’s services at the council had been branded inadequate by Ofsted, and since then myself and colleagues have sat in numerous meetings with numerous portfolio holders and chiefs where they promise that changes and progress is being made. So as the system is found to be failing yet again - and progress has been judged to be sporadic at best - can we please see some actual vital progress in the start of this debacle’s fourth year?
The Bucks Herald will be of course keeping an eye on this issue - because children are the future of this area, and no matter what the circumstances deserve a childhood of dignity, consistency and respect.
Last week we told you all about how Aylesbury Vale District Councillor and business transformation portfolio holder Janet Blake had broken the rules by voting on planning applications from a company in which she had an interest. This week’s follow-up story in my view really lacked something, and it wasn’t anything to do with our reporting team’s journalism - as I’m so proud of them all for rooting out this investigation. No - what I think it lacked was any clear plan or policy from Aylesbury Vale District Council, on how it deals with councillors who break the rules in this way.
It feels to me like the council hasn’t yet decided what it’s going to do - maybe hoping it will all blow over?
We would like to know what Aylesbury Vale District Council is going to do, now that it has come to light that someone who voted on important local planning applications had a bond in the company she voted to sanction?
And I’m sure that the electing public would like to know too.
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