Are Labour telling the truth about local children?
An investigation by a local independent journalist has uncovered differences in what Derby's Labour-controlled Council are saying to local Councillors and to the government.
By law, all children with special educational needs are supposed to have their previous statements of needs converted to newer and more comprehensive Education and Health Care Plans. On 24th January 2018, Labour's Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Sarah Russell told Councillors that 644 conversions were still to be converted. The day before, the Director reported to the government that only 386 conversions still needed to be done - little over half as many.
Reacting to this, Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Ruth Skelton said, "The Labour Group has got a lot of explaining to do. They are giving a much higher figure for the remaining work to the public and councillors in Derby while at the same time reporting much lower figures to the Department of Education. Which set of figures is the correct one? Who is telling the truth?
"Questions are also being asked about the quality of the new EHCPs. Are children's needs being fully assessed during the EHCP process? Or are the contents of their Statements simply being put into the new EHCP format? If that is happening then it would be against the rules for how EHCPs should be prepared. From what I hear from families affected I'm not at all confident this is being done correctly, risking providing a poorer service to vulnerable children.
"The Council's Constitution states that 'We believe in being open and honest'. Words on paper are one thing; those words need to be put into practice."