Worcestershire County Council Confident Services For Children Will Improve

Clare Marchant Published Tuesday, 24th January 2017

The Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council says that she is confident that the right leadership team is now in place to improve outcomes for the county's children.

An inspection by Ofsted, into services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers, is published today and has described the service as inadequate.

In response the Council is proposing to invest an extra £3.5 million into safeguarding children from April.

Clare Marchant, the Council's Chief Executive said: "I want to say sorry to children and families where the level of service that we have provided has not been good enough. We accept the findings and I can assure you that we are working hard to improve outcomes for our children."

"We have made our plan more robust and we have accelerated the pace of delivery. Ofsted recognises progress is being made. A new referral model for all agencies has been in place since July last year. We have significantly reduced the time it takes to complete care proceedings when they are required and we have made progress in recruiting more permanent front line Team Leaders to increase the stability of our workforce."

Worcestershire County Council appointed Dr Catherine Driscoll as its new Director of Children, Families and Communities last February. Since taking up her appointment in the summer she has brought in a new Assistant Director, Tina Russell, who is in charge of Safeguarding Children.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families, said: "I am very disappointed by the outcome of this inspection but having been in this role for six months I am already beginning to see improvements. The inspectors have told me that they have seen that the pace of change has accelerated and I will make sure that progress continues. To enable our new Director of Children Families and Communities to deliver the improvements that we all want to see, this Council is proposing to invest an extra £3.5 million pounds into Safeguarding Children in Worcestershire next year."

The Chairman of the independent Worcestershire Safeguarding Children's Board, Derek Benson, said: "Our priority is to ensure that the best possible safeguarding arrangements are in place for children in Worcestershire. We are concerned by the results of this Ofsted inspection. Improvements must be made and it is vital that all the agencies work together to meet the challenges ahead."

"Ofsted has recognised that progress is now being made and following the appointment of Catherine Driscoll as Director of Children Families and Communities I have seen the pace of that progress accelerate."

"We must continue to see that progress. The role of this Safeguarding Board, to provide independent oversight and scrutiny, has never been more important."

For more on the response to the Ofsted Inspection