Council failing to act quickly over at risk children
The letter says: “Inspectors noted recent improvements, particularly in the few weeks prior to the visit.
“However, some changes have taken too long to achieve. Children continue to receive an inconsistent response to their needs and, for some, potential risks are not explored quickly enough.”
It adds: “Inspectors found that some children whose circumstances warrant a social work assessment are stepped down to early help.
“Others are passed to the area teams for assessment when, in fact, the risk of significant harm should prompt a strategy meeting.
“This leaves these children in situations in which they are not assessed, helped or protected quickly enough.”
Cllr Chris Botten, Liberal Democrat spokesman on children and schools, said: “Although the county council has clearly improved its services to protect vulnerable children since the inadequate Ofsted inspection report in 2015, much remains to be done.
“The delays in assessing, helping and protecting vulnerable children have to be tackled so that children receive the appropriate support when needed.
“In relation to missing children more robust processes are required and the risks facing these children addressed.
“More needs to be done to provide early help to children experiencing problems to help prevent them reaching crisis point.
“I shall be pressing the county council to make the necessary improvements as quickly as possible so that vulnerable children receive the support and protection that they need.”
A Surrey County Council spokesman said: “Ofsted has recognised improvements we’ve made but we know there is more to do and everyone involved is working hard to ensure that our support for children and young people who need our help is as good as it can possibly be including through the work of the multi-agency safeguarding hub.”