Ofsted orders immediate action on Barnsley children’s services

WATCHDOGS HAVE ordered immediate improvements to be made to child protection services at a Yorkshire council – two years after they were branded “inadequate”.

Services at Barnsley Council have got better but Ofsted inspectors still gave the authority a “requires improvement” rating in a number of key areas among them achieving stability for youngsters in care and also in leadership, management and governance of services.

The work of Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board was also highlighted as a priority area in need of immediate improvement.

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Inspectors said plans to protect children from harm were “not always of good quality” while children identified at risk of sexual exploitation or those missing from home “do not always receive a good service”.

But they did take into account the fact that much of the work to improve children’s services brought in following Ofsted’s visit in 2012, which resulted in it judging the authority inadequate for child protection services, is still ongoing.

The report read: “Although the officers in the local authority know their services well, there are many planned improvement actions still in progress and it is too early to evidence the impact of some improvements made.”

In response, Barnsley Council reaffirmed its commitment to bringing the department up to standard.

“At this stage in our improvement journey there are still things we need to do better,” said Coun Margaret Bruff, spokeswoman for children, young people and families.

“We are pleased, however, the inspectors confirm there are no widespread or serious failures.”

Coun Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “I would like to acknowledge the hard work of all employees and those from our partner organisations who’ve been instrumental in ensuring Barnsley’s services for children who need help and protection are no longer judged inadequate.”