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EXCLUSIVE: Council refuse to deny ‘interim interim CEO’ lied on job application

James Giles

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KINGSTON Council have refused to deny that the newly-appointed ‘interim interim CEO’, Gill Steward, who is on a six-week contract with Kingston Council, lied about her qualifications when applying for the role.

Gill Steward, who until recently was Chief Executive of Bexley Council, claims on her LinkedIn profile to have a Masters degree in Public Administration from Warwick University.

However, leaked documents from Bexley Council, seen by this publication, reveal that Ms. Steward never completed her Masters degree, dropping out before completing the course.

When Kingston Council were asked whether Ms. Steward had misled the authority when applying for the job, together with a request to confirm Ms. Steward’s qualifications they refused to comment, instead releasing the following statement: “Due to health reasons, the responsibilities of the current interim CEO, Roy Thompson, are being picked up by members of the council’s permanent leadership team for a period of six weeks.

“Based on her experience and track record, Gill Steward has been brought on board, three-days a week, to support the leadership team during this time.”
Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of the Opposition, said: “I asked Cllr Green about the application and she told me that it was all handled by HR and she did not see the information. On checking she tells me Gill’s CV was accurate. I have not seen the paperwork myself so can’t say more.”

James Giles is the Editor of the Kingston Enquirer, covering local news and events in Kingston, New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington.

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Stop cuts to schools and special needs children

James Giles

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The Council last night (7th February) passed the ‘SEND Transformation Plan’, despite local residents making clear that they had not been properly consulted.

The plans, which include raiding a potential £5 million from the budgets of mainstream schools, were put out to consultation over the Christmas Holidays, which resulted in a response rate of less than 2% of those with special needs children.

SEND Family Voices, a group who until recently worked with the Council on special needs matters, have described the plans as ‘fantasy’, saying: “The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high. The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.”

If 100 residents sign the ‘call in’ below, the decision is sent to Scrutiny Panel for an investigation.

Please sign to ensure that our schools and special needs children get the education they deserve. We demand better for SEND children.

CALL IN: SEND TRANSFORMATION

We, the undersigned, call in all recommendations from the 'SEND Transformation Plan' from the Childrens and Adults Care and Education Committee for review at Scrutiny Panel for the following reasons:

- Councillors were misled by officers who presented the item, who claimed the consultation was sent to all SEND parents, school governors, publicised on the website and via social media, which is gross distortion of the facts.
- The consultation was not published on Kingston Council's consultation portal until 3rd January, leaving less than three weeks for the public to reply through this forum.
- The 'easy read' consultation was not published until after most schools had broken up.
- The consultation did not meet government guidelines on good consultation.
- Out of Borough schools which have Kingston SEND pupils attending were not consulted on the proposals
- SEND partners and parents were not consulted before the plan was published
- The consultation only had 96 responses. There are 4,000+ CYP with SEND in Kingston - at best, the response rate was 2% and in reality, lower, which suggests there was a major flaw with the way in which consultation was carried out, leaving the Council open to legal challenge.
- The committee wilfully held the authority's constitution in contempt by agreeing to the sending the Written Statement of Action to Ofsted a mere two working days after the committee, despite the constitution being incredibly clear that a decision cannot be fully implemented until expiration of a call-in period.
- The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high.
- The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.

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