Chaos at Wrexham Council: War of words between long-time allies


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

Last week Labour stalwart Cllr Malcolm King was outsted from his executive board role by party leader Cllr Neil Rogers.

The heavyweights were at loggerheads over allegations made by Cllr King against the local Child and Family Assessment Team (CAFAT) over the way it was being run.

They included concerns over the level of staff, turnover, high levels of case loads, and a pressure to close cases too early.

However, a report by independent investigator Helen Ryan concluded Cllr King had made the allegations “without any credible evidence to support them”.

Rumours of a rift were rife, and yesterday Cllr Rogers said: “I removed Cllr King’s portfolio because of his lack of performance in this role and behaviour over many months.

“In particular, his poor attendance at meetings, tardiness and his lack of attention to the detail of his portfolio.

“His failure to act upon the specific recommendation of the independent report, which I commissioned following his allegations against the CAFAT team, was the final straw.

“Cllr King now states that he is concerned about the financial pressures upon children’s services. He has not raised this concern previously.

“In fact he sought, in private and in public, to take every opportunity to demand further financial cuts within children’s services.

“Finally, in Cllr King’s report to me, the word ‘whistleblowing’ was not used.

“He made no reference to this word or this legitimate process.

“I find it incredible that he is suddenly raising the idea that he is ‘whistleblowing’ to detract from his own poor performance and behaviour as a lead member.”

Cllr King said: “I am very disappointed that our fellow Labour councillors have decided to leave the Labour group and even worse the Labour party itself. Some of them I have known for over 25 years and have always had a great respect and affection for them and will miss their comradeship very much.

“Of course, we will still remain together on the same council and I very much hope it will not affect our ability to work together in the future.

“So far as the very personal allegations that Cllr Rogers has made about me, I think that ‘the least said, the soonest mended’ is the best advice to follow.

“My workload has been very large with me sometimes presenting more reports to the executive board and council than all the other lead members put together.

“So far as my support for the CAFAT team is concerned, I wrote to all the councillors several weeks ago trying to clarify the position, setting out strong support for them and the vital work they do.

“It is still extremely difficult to understand how social workers have been led to believe that my report was in any way critical of them.

“I understand they have not seen my report, so I continue to wonder how they could have reached such an inaccurate conclusion, if indeed they have.

“I have been very heartened by the support I have received from around Wales, all of them expressing amazement and shock that someone could be sacked for raising concerns about child protection.

“Finally to say that I have not raised my concerns about the financial pressures with children's services is ridiculous and utterly untrue.

“I have spent the last 25 years doing so and I have never stopped.”   

See full story in the Leader

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