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Outgoing Haringey children's chief Lorna Reith 'proud' of job
Outgoing children’s services chief Councillor Lorna Reith says she “is proud” of her three-year tenure.
The councillor decided to step down from the role last week, with Councillor Ann Waters set to replace her after the full council meeting on May 21.
Cllr Reith has been strongly criticised by Liberal Democrats for failings in child protection – some before she took the job – but she says she had completed an overhaul of the system after the death of Baby P.
She said: “When I took over as cabinet lead for children, my mission was to completely overhaul our child protection service, build up a strong and well-trained team of permanent staff delivering good quality social work, establish an open culture where questioning and challenge were the norm and develop good and close working relationships with partner agencies, in particular the police and health.
“I am deeply shocked that the Liberal Democrats should completely undermine this by political point scoring.
“By calling into question the quality of our children’s service they are behaving in an irresponsible manner and are doing so without any supporting evidence. They are simply seeking sensationalist and alarmist headlines.”
She adds that the decision by the Government to take the service out of special measures in February showed that progress had been made, but said it could be undermined by the Lib Dem comments.
A damning report, which was released by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board two weeks ago, revealed children from one anonymous family were living in “appalling” conditions and suffering from “chronic neglect.”
Social services had been aware of the children for seven years, but they were not taken into police protection until April 2009.