William Eichler 06 April 2016

Council’s children's services ‘inadequate’, Ofsted warn

A council’s children’s services are suffering from ‘serious and widespread failures’, says Ofsted report.

An inspection of Dudley council’s children’s social care services acknowledges a new senior leadership has made efforts to improve the ‘inadequate’ services and also recognises these changes will take time to produce results.

It does, however, argue the local authority has been aware of the deficits for some time but ‘has not taken sufficiently swift or robust remedial action’ to ensure children and young people are adequately protected.

Furthermore, the report states that since the last inspection in 2012 ‘the majority of areas that were found to require improvement at that inspection have not been progressed.’

Dudley’s new senior leadership flagged up many of the ongoing problems with their children’s services in 2015.

They brought in a new management team, commissioned an external review, and established an Improvement Board to look into making the services fit for purpose.

Ofsted reports, however, that ‘the local authority is working from an extremely low base’ and so improvements will take time to result in real change.

Sarah Norman, chief executive of Dudley Council, said: ‘We fully accept Ofsted’s findings and the inspection has confirmed our own self-assessment of the services and we will continue at pace to rectify the issues.

‘We have acted quickly over the last 12 months to drive forward these changes and we are pleased the report confirms ‘strong leadership’ is now in place.

‘The report makes it clear that we were starting from a low base and that it will take time to for the improvements to be embedded into the service.’

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