Council must 'urgently improve' care of vulnerable children in Wiltshire warns regulator (From This Is Wiltshire)
Council must 'urgently improve' care of vulnerable children in Wiltshire warns regulator
12:35pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in Latest News
Wiltshire Council has been told it must improve its care for children at risk of harm or face having the government step in to take over.
Ofsted inspectors said in April the council's monitoring of the safety of vulnerable children wasn't good enough.
Ofsted said they had found ‘serious and significant shortcomings’ in 17 of the 92 child protection cases that they selected at random.
The Department of Education has now issued an urgent improvement notice.
The council will be inspected in December to check progress made, and must meet targets by December 2013 or face further action.
When it inspected earlier this year Ofsted found problems with the early stages assessing vulnerable children.
That inspection, along with figures which show delays in getting children placed in care, prompted the improvement notice.
The Department of Education said the council's targets were not strict enough, action was needed to clear a backlog of unallocated cases, and the views of children involved need to be taken into account.
The council must set up an Improvement Board with an independent chairman and agree a plan with that board to improve the performance of the adoption service.
Wiltshire Council has put an extra £500,000 into the budget to help turn the situation around and says the backlog of cases has already been cleared..
Carolyn Godfrey, the council's director of public services, said they had received a draft version of the notice immediately after the Ofsted inspection and had already begun working on it.
She said the backlog of unallocated cases had been cleared and apologies made for delays.
A new training programme for all social care staff has also begun.