Council leader under fire for referring to Serious Case Reviews as 'this sort of stuff'

Council leader Matthew Golby was responding to calls to resign when he made the remark.
Council leader Matthew Golby was responding to calls to resign when he made the remark.

The leader of Northamptonshire County Council has come under further fire after using the term 'this sort of stuff' to refer to two Serious Case Reviews into child deaths.

On Tuesday a safeguarding board revealed that serious failings within the county council's children's services may have contributed to the deaths of two children at the hand of violent, drug dealing fathers.

Separate reviews into the deaths of two-year-old Northampton toddler Dylan Tiffin-Brown in December 2017 and a one-year-old Kettering baby in April 2018 found that mistakes were made by the under-staffed children’s department and opportunities to better protect them were missed.

In the aftermath, leader Matt Golby faced calls to resign from Labour - who demanded he fall on his sword because he was cabinet member for children's services at the time of the failings.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: "I’m not going to stand down.

"When this sort of stuff happens you need to do some soul searching and it is only right we do that. We are really sorry about what happened but I stand by the department."

But his remarks have been branded as flippant by several people on social media, including the rector of All Saints Church Oliver Coss.

Fr Coss said on Twitter: "When the Leader refers to 'this sort of stuff' he is referring to the murders of two children, and the failure of the authorities to effectively intervene.

"The relegation of appalling tragedy to "this sort of stuff" concedes repetition."

Nicola McKenna, added: "This is beyond grim and such a callous statement to make about 2 children who were murdered in our county."

On Facebook, reader Paul Jones said: "This sort of stuff"! Not the best choice of words from the leader of the discredited county council."

Councillor Golby has declined the offer to respond.

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne was among those calling for Councillor Golby's resignation.

“Council leader Matt Golby has to go. He failed when he was in charge of children’s services, and he’s failed since taking over the council,2 he said.

"The people of Northants need to be reassured that vulnerable children in the county will be protected. And the county council must immediately restore the funding that it has cut from children’s services.”