Taskforce to shake up department
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.
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.