Some councillors out of their depth on social care - John McLellan

If any Edinburgh councillor needs convincing about the need for a thorough shake-up of the city’s social care, they haven’t read the tribunal report which has just awarded £28,665 compensation to a Lithuanian social worker employed only last year who was forced out of her job after enduring a traumatic disciplinary investigation. And they certainly weren’t paying any attention to the many debates about the chaos enveloping the service in recent years.
Council social care needs a shake-up, says John McLellanCouncil social care needs a shake-up, says John McLellan
Council social care needs a shake-up, says John McLellan

If they are aware of the many management failings in that department but believe the radical change needed can be delivered by a seconded civil servant, or if they think those who are prepared to take on and succeed in such a tough job at the pace necessary are available for tuppence ha’penny, they are utterly deluded.

Into that bracket falls the appointment of an interim director of adult social care, at an admittedly expensive £161,356 for a six-month contract, but in the absence of any moves to replace the failed joint NHS-local authority board director Judith Proctor, the crisis in social care would only deepen if someone wasn’t appointed to get a grip, and appointed quickly.

That some councillors are totally out of their depth was illustrated at last week’s council meeting at which the Green and SNP representatives, who as part of a scrutiny panel approved the interim appointment, but then tried to change their minds.

It costs money to sort out deep problems. When the SNP led the administration it was responsible for appointing an interim education director in a similar crisis and the result was an ineffectual, steady-as-you-go approach which addressed very little.

But if the council needs hypocrites with short memories it needn’t look far.