William Eichler 19 March 2020

Devon CC’s children’s services criticised for ‘serious failures’

Devon CC’s children’s services criticised for ‘serious failures’ image

Ofsted has found ‘serious failures’ in services for young people in Devon as they discovered a minority of care leavers had been living in tents.

Devon County Council’s children’s services have been rated ‘inadequate’ after an Ofsted inspection in January.

The inspectors’ report said that senior leaders did not know about the extent of the failures to protect some of the most vulnerable children and young people from harm.

It said they were ‘unaware that a very small minority of their care leavers were or had been living in tents on the streets.’

The report pointed out that the service to care leavers was ‘inadequate’ at the point of the last inspection in 2015. It improved in 2018, but since then ‘there has been a further decline.’

Ofsted found that some children who have suffered chronic neglect and emotional abuse are being left with their families for too long because social workers and their managers ‘lack clarity’ about when to turn concerns into legal action.

‘Ultimately, however, a succession of inspection reports over the last seven years have emphasised that the local authority needs to have a better understanding of its strengths and weaknesses and to take robust and swift action where improvements are necessary,’ the report concluded.

The council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services, James McInnes, accepted the findings and announced that Devon will be working closely with Cornwall Council – whose services for care leavers are rated outstanding – to bring about immediate improvements.

‘Obviously, I am bitterly disappointed that we have let any vulnerable young person down,’ said Cllr McInnes.

‘Any parent will recognise that trying to help a young person to become a thriving young adult able to stand on their own two feet can be a tough job.

‘This is especially true of the most troubled and vulnerable of our care leavers who are living chaotic lives, and struggling with things like drug and alcohol or mental health issues.

‘The cases highlighted by Ofsted are clearly extreme, but we fully recognise we have a duty of care to every single care leaver and as a corporate parent we must do more to reach out and wrap support around them better.

‘I have every confidence in our senior managers and frontline staff to act fast and do what is needed to turn things around.’

A perfect storm for care homes image

A perfect storm for care homes

Iain MacBeath, strategic director, health and wellbeing at Bradford City Council, looks at the challenges facing the adult social care sector.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

School Crossing Patrol Officer Vacancies - South Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Come and support your local school and community by joining Essex County Council's School Crossing Patrol Team in South Essex. As a School Crossing P England, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

School Crossing Patrol Officer Vacancies - West Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Come and support your local school and community by joining Essex County Council's School Crossing Patrol Team in West Essex. As a School Crossing Pa England, Essex, Waltham Abbey
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Personal Advisor (Leaving and After Care Service)

Essex County Council
£26801.0 - £30906.0 per annum + Plus Excellent Benefits
Knowledge, Skills and Experience * Have achieved NVQ level 3 * Experience of working in a supportive relationship, with young people * Experience in working creatively with in various ways young people including young parents * Previous work expe England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Premises Assistant

Essex County Council
Up to £18029.0 per annum
Please note that this is a part time position, 18 hours per week. Working hours will be discussed at interview but may include some Saturday work. The England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director, Procurement

Essex County Council
Up to £111,100
We’re looking for proven experience of developing and implementing business planning and performance management frameworks in a... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue