AN OFSTED report has concluded social services for children at Swindon Council need improvement.

Following an inspection earlier this year, it was found that while there was nothing which required immediate action and no child was in immediate danger, concerns were raised in a number of areas.

Ofsted concluded more needed to be done to ensure social services were able to recognise the signs of sexual exploitation and the management of cases for children when they are first referred was also criticised.

The council was also told it needed a more consistent response to dealing with cases of domestic abuse when the police first report it to them.

However, there were also some positives with the adoption service being rated good and staff were also praised for helping young people with a problem before it became more serious.

The report also recognised the amount of case work for social services has increased dramatically over the last year.

An inspection was carried out over a four week period in March and April under a new, tougher system which Ofsted says is designed to raise standards.

Councillor Fionuala Foley, Swindon Council Cabinet member for Children’s Services said: “This was a very rigorous inspection by Ofsted under its new system, which is generally agreed to be much tougher than that used by the organisation previously to rate local authority performance. We accept the report’s findings entirely. We had already identified many of the issues highlighted by Ofsted and have been working on plans to tackle these.

"Some of the issues identified have one root cause, which is high caseloads for social workers. Like all local authorities we are finding it difficult to find enough social workers, but there are other things we can do to make caseloads more manageable in tandem with our recruitment efforts."