We can get insight into the mindset of local Labour and Tory politicians with the astonishing comments from senior Councillors that criticism of their performance in administration of essential local services should not be made i public but, instaed. should be kept private.
The anti democracy statement was made at the most recent meeting of Falkirk Council during a debate on the Chief Social Worker’s Annual Report, a public report that is a statutory requirement for Falkirk Council to publish in full.
While staff were praised by SNP Councillors for their efforts and professionalism serious questions of political administration’s handling of the Community Care Section of the Department were raised such as;;
Why many elderly and vulnerable people are having to wait for up to a year just to have their case allocated to an appropriate member of staff?
Why the department refuses to inform clients of the average time to assess their needs, instead issuing a reply that gives a bland “as soon as possible “response?
Why the department overspent by £700,000 last year when throughout the year a sizable underspend was being forecast?
Why just weeks before the end of the 2013/14 financial year when the administration must have been aware of the impending overspend did they cut the Social Work budget for 2014/15?
In a bizarre response Labour’s Social Services spokesperson, Linda Gow, criticised the SNP for raising these concerns in public, stating instead that they should have been raised in private at the council’s Performance Panel that meets behind closed doors.
This theme was taken up by several other Labour speakers who sought to deflect criticism onto staff in response to the SNP’s defence of staff and criticism of the failure of the Administration to prioritise elderly and other vulnerable people’s services.
Commenting on the matter, SNP Group Leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn said,
“So now we have it, the Labour / Tory Coalition Administration believe that they are above public criticism. Instead they want the SNP t nod through reports that fail to meet the needs of elderly and vulnerable people.”
“That is bad enough but to refuse to advise people how long they are likely to take before even carrying out the most basic of assessments for Community Care Assessments just because this will cause embarrassment to the council leaders is beyond contempt.”