Failures in the county borough's children's services are now coming out into the open, even in the Labour-leaning Evening Post. This report highlights the failure to recruit staff, leading to employment of agency staff. Unless things have changed in the year since I was on the council, there is also a higher than average turnover of social workers. Both resulted, in my opinion, from poor human management skills on the part of senior officers. Thus the financial troubles were a symptom, not a cause.
The poor climate of relationships within the department is probably the reason for the continuing failure to recruit. The management was belatedly changed by the Labour cabinet in 2011 but reputations linger.
The financial implications for the council tax payer are bad enough. More importantly, children's lives are put at risk. Misjudgements are made in the other direction, so that more children are made the subject of orders than need to be.
The Labour Welsh Government has protected the Labour council in Neath Port Talbot for long enough. They need to intervene as they did in Swansea four years ago, where Liberal Democrats were in charge of the council and struggling to recover from years of Labour control.