Comment By Mick Salih.
TheÃ‚ trial scheme on Sarah’s law is proposed to be extended to more areas of the country. I fully support this, as if it can save only one child from abuse it surely is the right way forward. But should we also be looking at a change in the law regarding appointment of Local Councillors?
“Councillors have a responsibility as corporate parents to do their best for children in care. Training and support can help elected members in this important role” – This quote was made by Cllr Les Lawrence, chairman of the LocalÃ‚ Government Association Children and young people’s board. Fine words indeed, and I would fully support his comments. But first we as councillors should put our own house in order and be pressing Government for aÃ‚ change in the law on who can stand for the position of Councillor. At the moment you only have to beÃ‚ declared aÃ‚ bankrupt or have served more than three months in prisonÃ‚ to beÃ‚ excluded from standing as a Councillor in local elections. This is notÃ‚ acceptable! In Stoke on Trent we have a Councillor who is presently on the SEX offenders register so how can he fulfilÃ‚ the role as a CORPORATE PARENT?
If local Government is to have any kind of credibility theÃ‚ LGA should be addressing this loophole and asking for the law to be changed, so that some crimes should automatically exclude peopleÃ‚ from standing for local Government. I feel that as an elected member, a parent and grandparent my responsibilities don’t stop at childrenÃ‚ in care. But to all children i.e as a school Governor, visiting residents in their homes and communicating with vulnerable residents.
If we are to rid our society of crimes against young people, surely we should be making a start in this quarter and show our support to Sarah’s Law.