Task­force to shake up depart­ment

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

A CAB­I­NET min­is­ter has or­dered a spe­cial task­force to shape up Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil’s dis­ar­rayed chil­dren’s ser­vices.

Ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary Nicky Mor­gan is­sued a writ­ten di­rec­tive which says she has ‘care­fully con­sid­ered’ Of­sted’s damn­ing in­spec­tion re­port of the coun­cil’s chil­dren ser­vices which it deemed ‘in­ad­e­quate’ in Au­gust.

Mrs Mor­gan is ‘sat­is­fied’ the au­thor­ity is fail­ing to per­form to an ‘ad­e­quate stan­dard’.

She will send spe­cial­ist chil­dren’s so­cial care ad­viser Clive Har­ri­son and his team to ‘chal­lenge and support’ the coun­cil, which was found to be putting vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren at risk of harm.

She de­mands that the au­thor­ity co-op­er­ates with Mr Har­ri­son and ‘shall ad­dress and rem­edy, with­out de­lay, each of the points or ar­eas out­lined in the Of­sted in­spec­tion re­port as pri­or­ity and im­me­di­ate ac­tions’.

The au­thor­ity must also co-op­er­ate with the task force by giv­ing them ac­cess to ‘any premises, doc­u­ment or em­ployee/ mem­ber of the au­thor­ity’ which the ad­vi­sor needs carry out his duty.

The di­rec­tive says the task force will ex­am­ine the fac­tors of child pro­tec­tion which led to Of­sted’s re­port and as­sess the au­thor­ity’s im­prove­ment plans.

A £9mil­lion in­vest­ment plan to im­prove the ser­vices was sub­mit­ted to the cab­i­net and ap­proved in Novem­ber.

The chil­dren’s

to

so­cial care ad­viser will also re­view the au­thor­ity’s lead­er­ship ca­pa­bil­ity to im­ple­ment the changes and over­see all im­prove­ments nec­es­sary to achieve an ‘ad­e­quate per­for­mance’ by the au­thor­ity over its chil­dren’s ser­vices.

Coun­cil spokesman Ai­dan Shut­ter said: “The coun­cil looks for­ward to work­ing with Clive and his team over the com­ing months.”

Coun­cil­lor Lin Hazell has taken on a role in chil­dren’s ser­vices again fol­low­ing its ‘in­ad­e­quate’ rat­ing by Of­sted and the res­ig­na­tion of An­gela Macpher­son, who re­signed due to ‘per­sonal rea­sons’. Ms Hazell was pre­vi­ously Bucks County Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for chil­dren’s ser­vices from 2005 to 2011.

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