Second damning inspection for children’s services
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.”