Leeds, Halifax and Doncaster councils 'failing' on children's services

COUNCILS in Leeds, Halifax and Doncaster are performing poorly overall in providing children's services, figures from Government regulator Ofsted have revealed.

Across the UK, a dozen local authorities are not meeting minimum requirements, according to the latest annual assessments undertaken by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills.

The others judged to be performing poorly include Birmingham, Essex, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Peterborough, Salford, Sandwell, Torbay and Worcestershire.

According to the data, 20 councils, including York, are providing excellent services, double the number for the previous year. In addition, 77 councils are performing well, with 37 councils rated as providing adequate services.

The outcomes for six authorities are not yet being published as further inspections are due to be held, the regulator added. They include Suffolk, West Sussex, Cheshire West, Haringey, Warrington and Cornwall.

The new assessment approach introduced last year incorporates direct observation of professional practice across childcare, schools, child protection services and safeguarding, children's social care and provision in the learning and skills sector.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said it was "very pleasing" to see an increase in the number of local authorities, both rural and metropolitan providing excellent services overall.

She added: "The minority of councils that are performing poorly were put in this category primarily because they are not doing enough to keep children safe.

"Inadequacies have been identified in their approach to safeguarding children. These authorities know where improvements are needed and have plans in place to improve."