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Oliver Twist comment misses the point

The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has criticised those Neath Port Talbot Councillors who characterised requests for more money for children’s social services as Oliver Twists always coming back for more.

Mr. Black was commenting on Neath Port Talbot’s Children, Young People and Education Scrutiny Board’s who expressed concerns about a £1.3m overspend on Children’s Services in the county.

“The Scrutiny Board needs to sharpen up its act,” he said. “Overspending the public’s money when there is no reason to do so is obviously wrong. But the council’s priority must be the swift protection of vulnerable children, and getting help to families that are not coping.

“It is here that the scrutiny board needs to concentrate its attention rather than coming up with catchy sound-bites on the money issue. They are missing the point.

“With 490 looked after children, Neath Port Talbot is in trouble. The Scrutiny Board needs to be looking at the effectiveness of the procedures the department is using, how well it works with its statutory partners, and how its recruitment and retention of staff is managed to name but three.

“Protection of vulnerable children is the Council’s sole responsibility by law. Getting that right means building an efficient, effective, and humane system, and then funding it properly. Effective scrutiny will help to produce such a system.”

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