Liberal Democrats at odds over Kingston and Richmond children's services merger

Surrey Comet: Richmond's Liberal Democrat leader Stephen Knight wants to return children's services back into the direct control of councils Richmond's Liberal Democrat leader Stephen Knight wants to return children's services back into the direct control of councils

Liberal Democrats appear to be at odds over the newly merged Kingston and Richmond children's services company Achieving for Children.

Richmond’s Lib Dem leader Stephen Knight has said the service could be returned to council hands if the party won control of both boroughs in the upcoming local elections on May 22.

Kingston and Richmond authorities have spent £1.5m settting up Achieving for Children as a social enterprise company earlier this year on the back of Kingston Council’s safeguarding being rated as inadequate two years in a row by Ofsted.

Coun Knight, a London Assembly member, said: “We are very happy with the joining up of the two boroughs – lots of positives about that.

“What we are not happy with is it being a private sector company. It needs to be part of the public sector rather than a company which is commercially trading.”

He said an agreement could be struck up to bring children’s services back into council control. This has been included in the Richmond Liberal Democrat manifesto.

It reads: “We will, therefore, work with Kingston Council to bring the service and its staff back into the public sector fold, under the direct control of elected councillors from both borough.”

But his opposite number, leader of Kingston Council councillor Liz Green, said it would be a “backward” step.

She said: “We are fully behind Achieving for Children as a social enterprise.

“We would not have entered into it otherwise. We would not want to go backwards.

"Political parties can have different ideas.”

Meanwhile, a Kingston University professor and former director of adult and community services, says creating Achieving for Children could lead to privatisation.

Ray Jones praised the merger by Richmond and Kingston, saying there were “good people”, but said: “I think there’s every danger it will be a Trojan horse.

He said: “It opens up the floodgates for the private sector to move in. I think it will lead to an increasing fragmentation across children’s services when what we know is we need consistency and collaboration.

“What we’re doing is opening it up to competition.”

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:28am Fri 9 May 14

Mr Chipps says...

Disappointing to see LibDems attacking the joint Richmond-Kingston initiative "Achieving for Children". Hopefully Kingston LibDem Leader Liz Green will be able to overcome her Richmond colleagues hostility.

Very strange to read that Richmond LibDem Leader Stephen Knight and Kingston academic Ray Jones condemn the incorporated status of Achieving for Children as some dangerous "Trojan Horse". They need to abandon their ideological obsessions and get behind this joint initiative.
Disappointing to see LibDems attacking the joint Richmond-Kingston initiative "Achieving for Children". Hopefully Kingston LibDem Leader Liz Green will be able to overcome her Richmond colleagues hostility. Very strange to read that Richmond LibDem Leader Stephen Knight and Kingston academic Ray Jones condemn the incorporated status of Achieving for Children as some dangerous "Trojan Horse". They need to abandon their ideological obsessions and get behind this joint initiative. Mr Chipps
  • Score: -1

10:27am Fri 9 May 14

concernedofkingston says...

I don't have a strong view as to whether this service would be best delivered by a public or private organisation but surely it would have helped residents in both boroughs if the Liberals could have discussed and resolved any ideological issues before they wasted £1.5m of our money?
I don't have a strong view as to whether this service would be best delivered by a public or private organisation but surely it would have helped residents in both boroughs if the Liberals could have discussed and resolved any ideological issues before they wasted £1.5m of our money? concernedofkingston
  • Score: 3

1:05pm Fri 9 May 14

marina68 says...

"Concerned", your throwaway remark is utter garbage. The new joint Richmond/Kingston services is up and running, and running well.
 
The debate is clearly an internal one, expressing different means to meet the same end goal. That end goal is, of course, ensuring that profit seeking companies are kept away from these critical services.
 
It's core Lib Dem policy that schools should be run for ** The Benefit of Children, NOT Shareholders **.
Our Kingston schools are amongst the very highest performing in the whole country and we want to keep things that way.
 
The Kingston public know that the Lib Dems fought tenaciously against secret Conservative plans to allow Tory hedge fund and venture capitalist friends to run OUR schools for THEIR profit.
 
Read the Independent article on Lib Dems successful fight at the link below:
 
http://ow.ly/wENBg
 
"Concerned", your throwaway remark is utter garbage. The new joint Richmond/Kingston services is up and running, and running well.   The debate is clearly an internal one, expressing different means to meet the same end goal. That end goal is, of course, ensuring that profit seeking companies are kept away from these critical services.   It's core Lib Dem policy that schools should be run for ** The Benefit of Children, NOT Shareholders **. Our Kingston schools are amongst the very highest performing in the whole country and we want to keep things that way.   The Kingston public know that the Lib Dems fought tenaciously against secret Conservative plans to allow Tory hedge fund and venture capitalist friends to run OUR schools for THEIR profit.   Read the Independent article on Lib Dems successful fight at the link below:   http://ow.ly/wENBg   marina68
  • Score: -1

6:13pm Fri 9 May 14

Dog whistle says...

On the bright side, at least I can now identify a couple of councillors from the Lib Dems - from the literature I've received from them lately you'd think they hadn't been in charge at the Council for over a decade. The face of their campaign is young bloke who isn't running in this election, and I've recently found out my 'local champion' is in fact a recently elected Lib Dem councillor swapping wards. They're a curious lot.
On the bright side, at least I can now identify a couple of councillors from the Lib Dems - from the literature I've received from them lately you'd think they hadn't been in charge at the Council for over a decade. The face of their campaign is young bloke who isn't running in this election, and I've recently found out my 'local champion' is in fact a recently elected Lib Dem councillor swapping wards. They're a curious lot. Dog whistle
  • Score: 5

7:44pm Fri 9 May 14

Voice of Reason & U Know It says...

10 Issues concerning the Liberal Democrats that make them (IMHO) the laughing stock of Politics
1. Derek Osbourn- Long time leader of the KOT council who while in office was later found to be a proven ‘ring master’ of a paedophile group . Now serving a richly deserved jail sentence after being convicted as a paedophile
2. Nick Clegg being humiliated by Nigel Farage in the recent televised debates
3. The Liberal Democrats betraying their traditional left wing voters by forming the CON-DEM Government with Cameron’s public school chums AKA the Conservative Party
4. Under a Liberal Democrat Council for goodness knows how long all KOT residents now pay the highest Council Tax in London yet there are next to no public toilets in the Borough and no public parking for Motorcycles in New Malden – Pathetic!
5. Rose Theatre. Funded partially by the Liberal Democrat Council against the wishes of many a council tax payer in Kingston Upon Thames. The fayre served up is bland middle class rubbish deliberately aimed by a seemingly load of geriatric luvvies at alienating 90% of mainstream choice within the Borough. It must be obvious – use the ruddy facility for mainstream taste!
6. Cyril Smith – Another Liberal Democrat who appears to have been abusing young children. It seems to me the Liberal Democrat Party is a magnet to sexual deviants and perverts. Watch this space - it appears that portly Cyril may out-do Jimmy Saville?
7. Lord Renard- accused by his fellow female Liberal Democrat party members of abusing his power of office by touching them up on numerous occasions. Unfortunately for him not many takers (apparently - so the aforementioned ladies say)
8. Edward Davey’s hypocrisy proven by him removing from his website evidence of his long term stance against nuclear energy just prior to his recent massive U turn as part of the CON-DEMS. Come the next general election he will in any case be toast and mainly because all the left thinking voters in the borough are going to vote Tory. My view is that it is better to deal with an outright Tory than a Lib Dem traitor AKA our beloved (Not Anymore!) Member of parliament, the right deceitful (in my view) Edward Davey
9. Mike Hancock – Liberal Democrat MP in Portsmouth. I understand from the press he is going to probably face charges of sexually assaulting one of his constituents. Portsmouth Council already have, so I understand, held a damning internal enquiry. I suppose the upside for the Lib Dems is that it could prove to be a misunderstanding as was initially thought with Derek Osbourne
10. Finally there is the inconsequential former leader of the party who was a self confessed drunk. He was so second rate that I can only remember his first name …Charles ????. I suppose the current leader will go down in history as Nick Wotisname? – you know David Cameron’s stooge – you know the one who got ripped up on TV by Nigel Watisname? Perhaps they were related
10 Issues concerning the Liberal Democrats that make them (IMHO) the laughing stock of Politics 1. Derek Osbourn- Long time leader of the KOT council who while in office was later found to be a proven ‘ring master’ of a paedophile group . Now serving a richly deserved jail sentence after being convicted as a paedophile 2. Nick Clegg being humiliated by Nigel Farage in the recent televised debates 3. The Liberal Democrats betraying their traditional left wing voters by forming the CON-DEM Government with Cameron’s public school chums AKA the Conservative Party 4. Under a Liberal Democrat Council for goodness knows how long all KOT residents now pay the highest Council Tax in London yet there are next to no public toilets in the Borough and no public parking for Motorcycles in New Malden – Pathetic! 5. Rose Theatre. Funded partially by the Liberal Democrat Council against the wishes of many a council tax payer in Kingston Upon Thames. The fayre served up is bland middle class rubbish deliberately aimed by a seemingly load of geriatric luvvies at alienating 90% of mainstream choice within the Borough. It must be obvious – use the ruddy facility for mainstream taste! 6. Cyril Smith – Another Liberal Democrat who appears to have been abusing young children. It seems to me the Liberal Democrat Party is a magnet to sexual deviants and perverts. Watch this space - it appears that portly Cyril may out-do Jimmy Saville? 7. Lord Renard- accused by his fellow female Liberal Democrat party members of abusing his power of office by touching them up on numerous occasions. Unfortunately for him not many takers (apparently - so the aforementioned ladies say) 8. Edward Davey’s hypocrisy proven by him removing from his website evidence of his long term stance against nuclear energy just prior to his recent massive U turn as part of the CON-DEMS. Come the next general election he will in any case be toast and mainly because all the left thinking voters in the borough are going to vote Tory. My view is that it is better to deal with an outright Tory than a Lib Dem traitor AKA our beloved (Not Anymore!) Member of parliament, the right deceitful (in my view) Edward Davey 9. Mike Hancock – Liberal Democrat MP in Portsmouth. I understand from the press he is going to probably face charges of sexually assaulting one of his constituents. Portsmouth Council already have, so I understand, held a damning internal enquiry. I suppose the upside for the Lib Dems is that it could prove to be a misunderstanding as was initially thought with Derek Osbourne 10. Finally there is the inconsequential former leader of the party who was a self confessed drunk. He was so second rate that I can only remember his first name …Charles ????. I suppose the current leader will go down in history as Nick Wotisname? – you know David Cameron’s stooge – you know the one who got ripped up on TV by Nigel Watisname? Perhaps they were related Voice of Reason & U Know It
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree