Sec­ond damn­ing in­spec­tion for chil­dren’s ser­vices

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

CHIL­DREN’S ser­vices in Cheshire East are still not up to stan­dard, a Gov­ern­ment watchdog has claimed.

Fol­low­ing an in­spec­tion in July Of­sted found im­prove­ments since 2013’s damn­ing in­spec­tion, where in­spec­tors found safe­guard­ing ar­range­ments for the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren was in­ad­e­quate. But in­spec­tors are still un­sat­is­fied and claim: ‘the au­thor­ity is not yet de­liv­er­ing good pro­tec­tion and help for chil­dren, young peo­ple and fam­i­lies’.

The watchdog also found Cheshire East is not de­liv­er­ing good care for chil­dren in care and said lead­er­ship, man­age­ment and gov­er­nance re­quire im­prove­ment.

Over­all, Of­sted found the coun­cil’s chil­dren’s ser­vice ‘re­quires im­prove­ment’ in four out of five ar­eas.

Only its adop­tion ser­vice was rated ‘good’.

Cheshire East Coun­cil said it is tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to im­prove the ser­vice.

A spokesman said: “Fol- low­ing a re­cent in­spec­tion of Cheshire East chil­dren’s ser­vices by Of­sted, the re­port recog­nises that sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments have been made.

“In­spec­tors were im­pressed with the coun­cil’s adop­tion ser­vices, which they judged to be good. The re­sponse to chil­dren at risk of child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion or miss­ing is strong, with the re­port stat­ing that ‘where chil­dren are at risk of sig­nif­i­cant harm, swift ac­tion is taken when mak­ing re­fer­rals to chil­dren’s ser­vices for as­sess­ment, in­ter­ven­tion and sup­port’.

“There is no ev­i­dence that chil­dren are at risk of be­ing harmed ‘or at risk of harm’ and se­nior and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers have worked ef­fec­tively to im­prove the qual­ity of ser­vices for chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

“While it is ev­i­dent that Cheshire East Coun­cil wants all its ser­vices to be good and out­stand­ing, the nec­es­sary steps are be­ing taken to iden­tify and ad­dress any bar­ri­ers to pro­vid­ing im­proved ser­vices.”

Labour coun­cil­lor Dorothy Flude said she was ‘dis­ap­pointed’ with Of­sted’s find­ings.

She said: “I’m pleased to see the adop­tion ser­vice has got a good, that’s ex­cel­lent for chil­dren go­ing for­ward.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed lead­er­ship and man­age­ment and gov­er­nance still re­quires im­prove­ment and other sec­tions too.

“I do re­alise other lo­cal author­i­ties are in the same po­si­tion be­cause, once again, Of­sted have moved the goal­posts, but it’s dis­ap­point­ing.”

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