They Should Be Ashamed

Tories hand out a “£265,000 pay-off” after three failures…




Shameless Tory councillors have handed West Sussex County Council’s former chief executive a reported £265,000 pay-off after three serious council failures.


  1. Children’s services’ “damning indictment”

An Ofsted report said the council’s children’s services suffered “widespread and serious weaknesses”. The Department for Education condemned the council’s inadequate and ineffective leadership going back for years.

A report to the DfE by a special commissioner said the failures were “systemic and prolonged”. They were so bad the service should be removed from the council.

Liberal Democrat county councillor James Walsh said the commissioner’s report was a “damning indictment” of the council. He said the Tory failure to run the children’s services effectively had left “an unknown number of children badly affected”.

2. Fire service had problems

An independent inspector said West Sussex County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service suffered from a “litany of problems” and that there were shortcomings in every area. It was failing to use fire safety regulations to protect the public and should improve the way it responded to emergencies. Other failings included a failure to treat staff adequately. There had been some instances of bullying reported.

The Conservative-run service had no clear strategy to enable it to identify “the highest risk premises”. The independent inspector said the fire service wasn’t able to say how many audits had been done to check that risky premises were complying with fire safety regulations. 

3. £4million road maintenance failure

A West Sussex County Council budget report revealed that the council paid an engineering company £4 million compensation after the council had bungled a contract for maintaining the county’s roads. That’s £4m which could have been spent on better services, such has filling in thousands of potholes on West Sussex roads. 

4. The Tories wanted to keep the pay-off secret

The reported £265,000 pay-off – not officially confirmed – was waved through by Conservative councillors without any proper apology to West Sussex council taxpayers who will pick up the bill.

Ian Jones, Adur District Liberal Democrat council candidate for Southwick Green, said: “Those of us who pay council tax deserve a detailed explanation. We need to know why there have been so many failures – and whether there are any more to come.”

Nico Kearns, Adur District Liberal Democrat council candidate for St Mary’s, added: “The real villain of the piece is Tory austerity which starves councils of the money they need to deliver good local services.”

These fresh revelations come only a month after Liberal Democrats revealed Adur District Council had missed out on the chance to collect £3m from property developers to spend on local services.

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