This is a big week at Wirral Council. So many comings and goings we can hardly keep up. Unfortunately some high profile departures will mean that some Wirral Council senior managers will be leaving before we get the chance to publish what we believe to be the real reasons behind some of the sudden departures.
We understand that one who has already slipped out the back door is John Wood who was brought in to help with Children’s Services ‘improvement journey’ last July as the head of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at Wirral Council. Read more here : SEND for Help
Now just after 9 months in post we understand that Wood has gone. Although it must be said the writing was on the wall when he himself hinted at the challenges he faced at Wirral Council in our Special Educational Needs and Disability : ‘ The best interests of the children have definitely not been at the forefront of everyone’s thinking…’ story.
What we do know is that there is an impending Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman report which won’t make pleasant reading for Wirral Council and particularly those in the SEND Department formerly headed by Wood. We anticipate that the Ombudsman will find that Wirral Council were at fault and recommend urgent actions following a serious complaint involving a child with special educational needs. From what we understand it is unclear whether Wirral Council staff have had any training in SEND law. The law is clear, as is the guidance to which the department must adhere. However it would appear that Wirral Council are simply making up their own rules as they go along – no change there then. Hence the Ombudsman ruling and need for ‘urgent actions’.
Moreover we also understand that John Wood was involved in leading an investigation that is being described to us – and with apparent justification – as a cover up by Wirral Council. The case involves an allegation of abuse at a special needs school.
Much,much more on both of these stories over the next few weeks.
All we will say for now is that whilst Wood may have found a way out but it would appear Children’s Services are not yet out of the woods when it comes to their ‘improvement journey’! …