Labour’s election manifesto included the following pledge:
“We will end all non-statutory advertising by the council.”
This has been abandoned. Had the pledge been carried out it would have led to shortage of foster carers for children in care. Recruitment advertising for them is a significant source of council spending. However the alternative – of paying agencies for foster carers would cost more. It would also mean children in care would suffer. It could mean, for example. they had to live further away from school. A good foster carer can be transformational. It can make the difference between a child going on to adoption and a permanent loving home. – or remaining stuck in the care system throughout childhood with often dire prospects for adult life.
An email from a council press officer Louise Raisey said:
“There are, of course, some areas of work where advertising is a statutory requirement that will need to continue and we consider adopter and foster carer recruitment to fall into this category.”
There was a preliminary that this was “the response Cllr MacMillan asked to be sent”. That is an unusual caveat. (It is a reference to Cllr Sue MacMillan, the Cabinet Member for Children and Education.)
Why should a council officer feel the need to make clear they were sending a response under such specific political instruction?
Perhaps because it was untrue.
Tasnim Shawkat, the Council’s Director of Law offers this clarification:
“If you are asking whether there is a specific piece of legislation which states that a Local Authority must undertake recruitment advertising for foster carers, then no such statutory provision exists.”
Anyway common sense has prevailed. The fact the plesge was made indicates that Labour’s “manifesto” – actually made public after the election – was not a serious document.
If you would be interested in becoming a foster carer then come along to Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday between 10 am and no0n or on Wednesday August 13th between 6pm amd 8pm. Details here.