Somerset County Council:Child protection ‘inadequate’ says Offsted

county hall“The council and SSCB have only very recently recognised that there are significant weaknesses in children’s social care services. Identifying that progress was too slow following the April 2012 safeguarding and looked after children inspection, the council employed additional interim senior management support. External consultancy was brought in from January 2013 and identified too much poor and inconsistent practice and a lack of holding to account by managers at all levels.”

A Labour spokesman said “This is a damning report that highlights the inadequacies of the current administrations approach to the running of children’s services in Somerset.  This follows warning signs last year after a poor Ofsted report on the Safeguarding of Children in Care which judged that services to be merely Adequate.  It is deeply worrying that this vital service appears to be going backward rather than forward.  “

Dithering and ineffective approach

The latest Ofsted report specifically highlighted the weak leadership provided to the service – that weak leadership goes right to the top of the authority and is the consequence of a dithering and ineffective approach to the provision of services across the county over the past four years. The Tories can only look to themselves and the question has to be asked, after years of budget cuts and chaotic organisational change, how deep does the rot go and which other services are now close to failure?

Vulnerable children

We welcome that the authority has recognised the deep seated problems within this service and recently appointed Peter Lewis as interim Director of Children’s Services.  For the sake of the vulnerable children in Somerset we hope that staff are now given the support and resources they need to turn around the service.


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