Jamie Hailstone 10 March 2015

Councils failing to protect children warns watchdog

Over half of local authorities inspected for their children’s social care provision last year are 'not yet good enough', a damning report from Ofsted has warned.

The watchdog said of the 43 inspections, seven were judged to be inadequate and 26 required improvement. Only 10 areas were judged to be providing a good standard of care and protection for children and young people.

The report said while children were not immediately at risk in the areas judged to require improvement, the inspections revealed there was inconsistent support for social workers and managers were not overseeing services consistently.

The annual State of the Nation Report on Children’s Social Care also notes the increasing demand for services and continued intense public scrutiny.

‘Inspectors have seen examples of high quality practice, which puts the outcomes for children at the heart of decision-making. These areas demonstrate that it can be done, so we urge other authorities to learn from their example,’ said Ofsted’s national director for social care, Debbie Jones.

‘We recognise, however, the context and constraints within which social workers and their managers work - they have a difficult and demanding role and do not always get the support and recognition they deserve.

In response to the report, council leaders said high profile cases have led to thousands more children being on the radar of social services.

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: 'Protecting children is one of the most important jobs councils do and this report restates the pressure the system is under. Children’s services are creaking under the strain as they work to protect the most vulnerable children from abuse, neglect and child sexual exploitation.

In an NHS system failing to cope with winter pressures, the Government recently pledged £2 billion to alleviate the crisis. We need Whitehall to redress the balance and give us adequate resources we need to get on with the vital job of protecting children.'

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