Dan Peters 16 May 2018

Children's services blow for new chiefs

Surrey CC’s children’s services are still inadequate, according to Ofsted – three years after they received the same grade.

Ofsted found there had been a ‘pattern of denial following the last inspection’.

It said management oversight was ‘often of a poor quality, primarily because it does not demonstrate sufficient curiosity, reflection or analysis’ and told senior managers and leaders they had ‘much more to do to ensure that serious weaknesses are fully addressed with pace and determination’.

The council appointed Dave Hill as executive director for children, families and learning, Dave Hill, last month and Joanna Killian as chief executive in March.

Ofsted’s report reads: ‘Senior leaders and elected members have been far too slow to accept and act on the findings and recommendations of the 2014 inspection and to respond with the required urgency to the findings of several subsequent monitoring visits.

‘Too many of the most vulnerable children in the county are being left exposed to continuing harm for long periods of time before decisive protective actions are taken.

‘Staff have advised leaders that they are worried about the inconsistent application of thresholds, the variability of management oversight and high caseloads in some teams.

'Children have clearly stated that they have too many changes of social worker.

‘There is much more to do to reduce a continual turnover of staff and high caseloads in some teams in order to build a more stable, permanent workforce.’

About half of children who are looked after live outside Surrey because there are not enough foster carers in the county.

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