The children must come firstCllr Zena Brabazon issues full response to recent cabinet sacking
Cllr Zena Brabazon issues full response to recent cabinet sacking
By Luchia Robinson
Cllr Zena Brabazon says she’ll always prioritise the needs of Haringey’s young people and families because children must come before politics.
The new statement from the Harringay ward councillor follows her recent dismissal from the role of Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.
Haringey Council Leader, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor sacked Cllr Brabazon as the result of a damning High Court judgment that named Haringey Council (the council’s name had previously been anonymous), in a case involving vulnerable children at risk of a convicted sex offender.
Regarding his decision, Cllr Ejiofor said: “Cllr Brabazon had different expectations around the importance of communicating key information between cabinet members and the leader of the council.”
He added: “Haringey Council will never compromise on child safety or case confidentiality. The issue was that the Leader of the Council should be fully informed about all independent assessments about the safeguarding service we provide for our young people.
In a full statement regarding her departure from cabinet, Cllr Brabazon said: “I am proud of the service and the huge improvements that have been achieved, particularly in the field of safeguarding, children’s social care and relationships with our schools.”
Councillor Brabazon claims that the council’s responses to the criticisms in the November 2018 Ofsted inspection report “have been acknowledged to be good, and we were praised by Ofsted in their 2019 focus visit.”
She added: “There will never be a time when we do not live in the sad shadow of our past failings but the service has a promising future and is stable and well led, against the odds. We have attracted good staff and rooted out some difficult problems.
“Cllr Ejiofor has made comments in the press which do need to be challenged. However, Children’s Services must be above politics. The portfolio is complex and our duties to children and families will always be more important than any political career. I will always put the needs of children first. Families in difficulty are entitled to confidentiality and privacy. These requirements cannot be outweighed by political considerations. Demands for information cannot always be met.”
Cllr Brabazon had previously been sacked from cabinet at the turn of 2019.
This present clashing of perspectives between Cllrs Brabazon and Ejiofor has now led to Cllr Kaushika Amin (Northumberland Park) taking responsibility for the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People portfolio.
Cllr Brabazon said: “I am immensely sorry to be leaving at a time when relationships were building. Governors, headteachers, school staff and parents are working together to meet the challenges of the pandemic. The local authority is improving its offer to schools and using resources to support schools as hubs in the community. Officers are collegiate and professional. Fellow councillors have been constructively engaged. I have made great friendships and will miss colleagues. I wish the service well.”
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