Figures published in Ofsted’s first stand-alone Social Care Annual Report show that of the 17 local authorities judged ‘inadequate’ in the past year, 11 had seen a new Director of Children’s Services recently installed while 12 had undergone another major change in senior leadership of one sort or another in the period prior to inspection.
Today’s report finds that in a climate of turbulence, increased workloads and intense scrutiny of children’s social care – much of it arising from public anxiety following a catalogue of high-profile child deaths – many areas are struggling to improve their performance.
At the end of the first full three-year cycle of inspections, only four in 10 local authorities were judged to be ‘good’ or better for safeguarding children. And there are 20 local authorities (13 per cent or one in seven) judged by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’ for their child protection arrangements at the time of their most recent inspection.
The report finds that the nationwide map of poor performance is complex and changing – with the group of authorities currently judged inadequate looking very different to that of July 2012.
However, inspectors have found that a persistent absence of stable leadership was a feature of most ‘inadequate’ local authorities. In these weakest places:
- The most basic acceptable practice was not in place
- Supervision, management oversight, purposeful work with families and decisive action where children were at risk from harm were ineffective
- The views of children and families were rarely considered
- Support from key statutory partners – health, police, schools – was weak and poorly co-ordinated; and
- In some inadequate authorities, managers did not seem to have a firm understanding of what constituted good practice – making the management of risk and support for staff at the front-line almost impossible.
- More at: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/first-social-care-report-puts-spotlight-leadership
- Child protection not good enough (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Birmingham branded ‘national disgrace’ for child protection failures (theguardian.com)
- Child protection is inadequate at one in seven councils in England, says Ofsted (schoolsimprovement.net)
- Standard of child protection at 20 councils ‘unacceptably poor’, Ofsted warns (independent.co.uk)