Bosses must not hide away

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Councillor Pat Smith says she will resign if she is asked to do so by the Labour councillors but there is nothing to stop her examining her own conscience.

Elected representatives are supposed to be accountable, carrying the can when something goes wrong in their department rather than hiding behind others. Examples abound of resignations, ranging from policy mistakes to personal misdemeanours so, surely, the failure to protect children demands heads to roll.

With continuing revelations about the state of Children’s Services in Sunderland it is, surely, time for the person at the top to take responsibility and go.

Councillor Smith has been in her post for a long time, and all through the dramatic decline in the service since 2012, so she cannot blame anyone else. In fact, no one at the top has gone in Sunderland while social workers at the bottom have been sacked, five being dismissed by the council last year.

As well as failing to lead the service properly, some are now asking whether Councillor Smith was aware of the problems and acted soon enough.

One senior councillor told me a ‘glowing report on safeguarding’ was given to the councillors who may now feel they have been kept in the dark. Additionally, with the removal of Children’s Services from council control, the job is now mostly redundant.

Robert Oliver