Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Mayor to stand down after inquiry finds serious failures

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One of England's most controversial local politicians yesterday said he would step down after a government inquiry criticised serious child protection failures in the council he presided over.
Doncaster mayor Martin Winter said he would not be seeking re-election in June after ministers imposed a group of experts to oversee the council's children's services department.
A government report, published yesterday, called the South Yorkshire borough's children's services fragile and inadequate, citing ineffectual political management as one of the main reasons for its problems.
Ministers invoked powers under the 1996 Education Act to draft in an experienced management team. The same powers were used in December by children's secretary Ed Balls to remove Sharon Shoesmith as director of Haringey children's services in north London after the Baby P scandal.
Doncaster was one of four authorities in the country, including Haringey, to be judged to have inadequate children's services last year by Ofsted. One in four child protection cases - 770 in all - were not allocated to a social worker, inspectors found. Three serious case reviews into the deaths of children in Doncaster's care have been published in the last three years, and the council confirmed another four are ongoing.

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