Mark Whitehead 14 November 2018

Northants child protection services in ‘crisis’

Northants child protection services in ‘crisis’

The Government is sending a specialist commissioner to trouble-torn Northamptonshire County Council to deal with a crisis in its child protection services.

It follows publication of a letter by Ofsted inspectors saying children referred to council social services were not effectively supported or protected and the situation was getting worse.

The watchdog said political and financial turbulence at the Tory-controlled council had contributed to safeguarding services being unable to meet the needs of at-risk children.

Ofsted was responding to a request from existing commissioners sent in earlier this year after the council declared itself effectively bankrupt.

The letter highlights poor oversight and management as a key factor in the decline of safeguarding services over the past two years.

It says child protection social workers told inspectors they were 'overwhelmed' and 'drowning' under the pressure of rising demand.

The ministers said they were 'minded' to appoint Malcolm Newsam, an experienced director of children’s services who has successfully turned round several underperforming councils, to the new role.

Mr Brokenshire said: 'Ofsted’s report highlights serious concerns about the current performance of children’s services in Northamptonshire and this cannot continue.

'We are taking action today by recommending a children’s commissioner joins the existing commissioner team at the Council.

'This will help to stabilise and improve the service so each and every child receives the protection they deserve.'

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