Birmingham and Devon councils “inadequate” when it comes to child protection
The government has issued a direction notice to Birmingham City Council and an improvement notice to Devon County Council after several Ofsted inspections found failings in their children’s social care services.
The 2-year direction, issued to Birmingham City Council on 23rd April 2014, follows inspections by Ofsted in July 2010, and two unannounced inspections in December 2009 and November 2011, which raised concerns over the council’s quality of practice.
Improvement notices were issued but the secretary of state found, after a further Ofsted report in October 2013, that the council’s provisions for child protection were “inadequate”.
As part of the direction, Birmingham City Council has one month to submit a plan for improving its services to the Department for Education and set up a performance monitoring board which must meet at least once a month to “oversee and drive improvements to children’s services.”
The council must work with Ofsted to test the extent of the progress made, and the document also directs the independent chair of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board to report quarterly on progress.
Devon’s improvement notice follows the results of an Ofsted inspection in May 2013, and focuses on various areas within its social care system.
Particular improvement areas include the quality and consistency of assessments and quality assurance improvements (including feedback of audits to the improvement board).
Devon County Council is also expected to set up an improvement board, with an independent chair, which is required to meet once a month to review progress and analyse objectives that are not being met in order to suggest early improvement initiatives.
Devon County Council is expected to meet targets and milestones by September 2014.