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Ofsted criticises children’s services

The majority of children’s services in this country are not good enough, Ofsted has declared.

The watchdog published its third annual report on children’s social care in England this week. According to their figures, three out of every four local authorities received a rating lower than ‘good’ in the most recent round of inspections. Of these, one in every four was rated ‘inadequate’. This represents a total of 21 authorities throughout the country and a five per cent increase from the previous round. Only 23 were rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

The quality of services was not determined by “lesser or greater funding; it’s about how local authorities use their funding”, the report reads. In fact, a number of the “highest spending local authorities were also the weakest” in terms of quality.

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said that these failings were “simply unacceptable”.  There are too many children in care who are not receiving adequate services and “in the most serious cases, they are being completely failed”, he claimed.

There are around 320,000 children in England who are categorised as “in need” at any given time, he explained. Such children, “whose miserable young lives are so often blighted as a result of domestic violence and the abuse of drugs or alcohol by adults in the home” worried him the most.

Ofsted’s inspections had identified “serious weaknesses” in local authorities’ ability to identify and assess the needs of children in these circumstances. The watchdog found “systemic failure on a shocking scale” in areas like Sunderland, Sir Michael claimed, where inspectors were “reduced literally to tears by the catastrophically chaotic state of the provision they … found”.

Sir Michael called social work “a noble calling” but said that “we do the profession no favours if we ignore its failings or try to pretend that provision is better than it actually is”.

Read Ofsted’s report here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Vincent McGovern says:

    Having been responsible as a Child Protection Governor at a Primary School for kickstarting an Ofsted investigation into the LCSB which according to the local paper Brent and Kilburn Times in October 2015 labelled the Ofsted report ‘damning’ I could not agree more. Also it is most definitely not a question of funding, it is a question of ideology. Quite simply while so many LCSB pursue what can only be described as Child Endangering Gender Discrimination policies rather than the required Gender Neutral Impartial Professionalism this problem will continue.

  2. rob says:

    I agree with the above comment , it really is about the attitude of the Local Authority. Those who look down on peasants such as East Riding of Yorkshire,do not safeguard vulnerable children or adults. Interestingly that councils Children’s Services are still led by former Rotherham Managers, which ought to be a national scandal given that CSE is at an unacceptable level in that county just as it was in Rotherham.

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