Scrutiny Committee Meeting 29 July 2009

The first meeting of the City Council's Scrutiny Committee was held on 29th July to see the agenda click here. The agenda included a number of HMIe reports on schools. This generally reflected the hard work of pupils and staff across the city. There were a few concerns about issues such as the level of PE in primary schools.

I raised my concern that the Child Protection Report had not made its way onto the agenda of the Scrutiny Committee. I was informed by the Chief Executive that this would not happen which I felt was against the remit of the committee. The Convener, my colleague Kevin Keenan, suggested that he expected to see the Child Protection Report at the scrutiny committee.

I think that it is essential that the people of Dundee can have confidence in child protection. As elected members I think that we must do everything in our power to ensure that we protect Dundee's children. We cannot offer definitive guarantees that every child in Dundee is safe but we must do everything we can to protect Dundee's children.

Catch up: City Council 1st July

After the summer recess it's time to catch up on a few events over the summer. First back to the last meeting of the City Council prior to the recess on 1st July. The agenda can be found here. I made a number of contributions to the debate. I welcomed the city's new cultural strategy and questioned whether enough was being done to promote the V & A coming to Dundee. I welcome a report on Community Councils and asked without much success whether Dundee was examining a Scottish Government pilot scheme which gives Community Councils £15,000 to spend on local projects. I also welcomed the council's proposals to consult on a new allotment policy and warned the council to try to develop genuine partnerships rather than try to save money. On the issue of councillors' salaries I asked why we were setting our own - it should be set by an outside body.

Most importantly I took part in the debate on the Child Protection Report. In the debate I said,

"We should all take this report very very seriously. This council agreed a
report on the charter for corporate parents in November 2008. That charter
states that we have 'social and moral obligation to do our very best for those
children and young people for who we are corporate parents.' That is not
every child covered in this report but it is many of them and collectively I think
we have to ask have we done our best for these children and young people?

It is a shame that Bailie Borthwick is not able to be present tonight, he is
carrying out civic duties. I think that we would all do well to listen to what he
has to say on this important issue.

We must make sure that the policies and procedures are there that will ensure
that we are doing our best for every child in Dundee.

This report was not about one child, and we need to be absolutely clear that
officers and councillors cannot be held fully responsible for the actions of
people who would harm children and we must acknowledge that no system is
full-proof. But we must do all we can to do our best for Dundee's children.

We need to take action to ensure that we learn from best practice. We need
to take action that ensures that this service is well resourced. We need to
take action to ensure that the lessons from this report and learned and much
more importantly acted upon.

I fully support Councillor Keenan's motion and I would urge all elected
members to do likewise. We must take our responsibilities seriously and we
must do our best for all of Dundee's children."