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Technical ‘fiasco’ sees key county council meeting halted

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Norfolk County Council has been criticised for a technical “fiasco” which forced a key oversight meeting into the work of its children’s services to be rescheduled.

Questions to the county council’s children’s services director on the work of the department during the pandemic had to be shelved after technical issues saw the meeting adjourned just minutes in.

The scrutiny committee was set to launch a review of the council’s Covid-19 response, starting with issues affecting children, families and schools in the county.

Steve Morphew. (37480608)
Steve Morphew. (37480608)

It comes after the department faced criticism from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in its recent joint inspection report.

But after the meeting began on Tuesday (June 23), viewers were unable to hear the presentation.

Labour group leader and scrutiny chairman Steve Morphew said: “The cabinet must ensure councillors and members of the public have a way to stream live we can rely on.

“Whether an internal or external issue, it reflects badly on the council and the county so it needs to be dealt with urgently. We can’t claim to be championing improved connectivity when we can’t even hold our own meetings online.”

And Liberal Democrat group leader Steffan Aquarone added: “This morning’s scrutiny fiasco was deeply frustrating for officers, councillors and members of the public, who rightly expect to be able to cross-examine the county council’s response to coronavirus.

“It left us wondering why district councils have been able to help thousands of businesses and citizens, working remotely using the latest technology, whereas the county council doesn’t seem to be able to?

The council meeting did finally take place this morning (June 29).

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