Message from the outgoing Corporate Director of Children’s Services Debbie “Naughty Step” Jones

This was originally published in Love Wapping on March 5, 2020 under News with Humour / Satire tags but because everyone (well, almost everyone) likes it so much we have re-published it here.



Corporate Director of Children’s Services Debbie “Naughty Step” Jones is leaving Tower Hamlets and some bright spark thought it would be a good idea for her to write a lovely little message for the person who replaces her (see original at bottom of page).  Unfortunately it seems that some unknown mole person has slightly adapted the message to give it that unique Tower Hamlets feel.  

“Dear Colleague
So why should you be considering becoming our next Corporate Director and why now?

Probably because like me you have screwed up your current position, your reputation is in tatters and nobody else will look at you.

So if you are looking for a job where you are completely unaccountable and can get away with murder then welcome to Tower Hamlets.

I will miss Danny Hassell – or ‘my bitch’ as I call him. Such a kind and generous boy, he has amazing talents – pity none of them have anything to do with education or local politics.

At what is left of Children’s Services success is rewarded by the ability of senior officers and politicians to dodge all responsibility for screwing up the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people and their families. Sound good? Then this is the job for you.

I will have completed nearly five years by the time you arrive – fuck knows how – and what a roller coaster this has been!

Highs including achieving a good Ofsted rating in summer 2019, the ongoing success in our schools (well, those that are still open) and the public vindication following the “Debbie Jones is genuinely risen from the grave” expose of 2017 in Living Dead Style Choices Magazine.

Fortunately nobody has twigged the reasons why there have never been Serious Case Reviews into the three young girls who were radicalised at Bethnal Green Academy, fled to Syria to become baby machines for ISIS and then got bombed! How careless! We didn’t even know they weren’t in school. Seriously. Kids today eh? We decided not to do anything of that enquiry nonsense, too many pensions at stake.

There again that last ‘ISIS bride’ who is still alive but stateless might manage to get back to blighty one day – God help you if she tells the real story! A real career highlight.

The lows here have included being on the Ofsted ‘naughty step’ and falling foul of the very inspection framework that I developed and owned in 2017 when we were rated inadequate.

Some have criticised my use of the phrase ‘naughty step’ referring to that period but I consider it a badge of honour, just a little whimsy really. It’s not as if any children really were on a naughty step, was it? I am genuinely asking because our reporting systems were such a dogs breakfast I had no idea where they were then, let alone now.

Children’s Services are now on a trajectory from good to outstanding then back to good and the inevitable ‘inadequate’ rating and probably a good few young lives trashed on the way – or ‘collateral damage’ as I like to call them.

This shows that the pitfalls of my Very Important Job are many, although I find having reporting systems that are a bit flaky is actually well handy as children can ‘drop off the radar’ so to speak. Or should I say fall off the ‘naughty step’! Or do I mean flee to Syria?

You will be taking forward ongoing transformation in every part of this portfolio from SEND, through to Youth Services; Early Years & Culture.

I have no idea what SEND stands for and I can’t be arsed to find out now but you might want to look it up.

Youth Services will be a wonderful career challenge for you. And by challenge I mean termination. People here are getting twitchy that decades of corruption and complicity at the highest levels is just about to be exposed and you will undoubtedly be the one left without a chair when the music stops.

Well it sure ain’t gonna be me now, is it?

All this against considerable financial pressures that will not ease given this government’s determination to ‘rebalance’ resources across the country and the millions that flow out the backdoor of the Town Hall courtesy of Youth Services. Lovely lads you know! Inspiring! Possibly not the best types to implement the PREVENT programme but hey – what are you going to do?

Tower Hamlets is a place of vivid contrasts – or as those in Whitehall call it a Tier One Disaster Area That Is Best Ignored. Extremely well paid has-beens like me (£145,000 for doing fuck all! £145k!) at one end and those in extreme poverty at the other. Oh well.

Baffles me why the poor suckers keep on voting for the same socialist politicos when the borough is just as poor as it has ever been and getting poorer by the minute courtesy of the red rose sniffing comrades. Solidarity my arse.

Our schools are currently amongst the best funded in the country which is well good because when Danny closes the last one there will be even more wads of cash swilling around.

You will enjoy the cut and thrust of being, well, cut to pieces and thrust in front of the TV cameras to try and explain the unexplainable actions of others. My advice is to have a great sound bite to hand – like ‘naughty step’!

There is so much more as you will find out for yourself, but this letter is intended to be a taster so you can’t say nobody ever warned you.

Leaving Tower Hamlets will be a real wrench for me although not one young person or child will give a damn.

Naughty children! Maybe they should go on the ‘naughty step’? Yes they should!

But it’s time for a change as I have been repeatedly told since my first day in post and I am more than ready to hand on the baton to the next sucker – you.

Thank you for your interest in Tower Hamlets.

This is my fifth Director’s post and in truth, the most utter and complete shambles from start to finish.

This is why I have always felt so at home here. You will too.

Debbie Jones
Corporate Director
Children & Culture”

You can find out more about the Corporate Director of Children and Culture position here.

You can read the original sycophantic exercise in corporate reputation damage management in the Guardian here: Debbie Jones: ‘My team of experts got children’s services off the naughty step’

You can read the original letter below.

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