Laura Sharman 19 March 2019

Children ‘not being protected’ by Stoke-on-Trent Council

Children’s social care services are ‘inadequate’ at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, according to the findings of a new Ofsted inspection.

The report warns children face ‘serious and widespread’ delays in having their needs met across children’s services, and vulnerable children are not being safeguarded.

In response, the council said it was taking immediate action to improvement children’s services including a multi-million pound investment and the appointment of a new management team.

‘We take the ruling by Ofsted extremely seriously and are very concerned by the findings,’ said council leader, Ann James.

‘In carrying out their inspection, Ofsted officials spent time with frontline social workers. They found that our workers are dedicated and work extremely hard to support children and families, but that there are a number of challenges with social work practice and that more support and challenge is needed from managers.

‘It means that our practices are not robust enough to provide the best protection to meet the needs of our city’s vulnerable young people. This is unacceptable and we are committed to improving our service at pace for our children.’

The report highlights 15 key areas that need to improve including management oversight and direction, urgent and robust child protection responses, the capacity of staff, the quality of assessments and case recording, and support for vulnerable children.

Cllr Janine Bridges, the council’s cabinet member for education and economy, added: ‘Ofsted have given us a clear direction on where we need to improve, with a commitment that all agencies come together to implement improvements to services.’

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