The children’s services department of Surrey County Council has been declared ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, the fourth local authority to receive this rating in the last month.
The inspectorate said it was concerned by the way the authority, based in Kingston Upon Thames, deals with the issue of child sexual exploitation.m Large scale changes to the department in March last year had not been properly planned, declared Ofsted, leaving some children at risk without adequate social care services.
In a newly published report, the Office notes that the changes had “had far-reaching consequences for a significant number of vulnerable children and young people, some of whom were at known or potential risk of child sexual exploitation.”
Other vulnerable children had only received “underdeveloped” support, the report continues, thanks to a lack of co-ordination and a failure to properly identify and act upon identifiable risk factors.
Deputy council leader Peter Martin said the authority had already invested two million in the recruitment of more social workers. He added:
“The report says we are looking after children in immediate danger – it was our work to protect other young people with very difficult lives that needed to improve and is now being addressed.”
Cumbria County Council, Lambeth Borough Council and West Berkshire Council have all received critical Ofsted reports in recent weeks.
Read more here.
Photo of Kingston Upon Thames by Jim Linwood via Flickr