The quality of child protection services in North East
Lincolnshire Council has improved considerably since a highly
critical report over a year ago, according to government
But the department of health has confirmed that the council’s
social services department will not be taken off special measures
The re-inspection of child protection services followed an
inspection in September 1999, which identified serious deficiencies
and made 41 recommendations. The inspection arose from the
council’s Part 8 review into the death of four-year-old Philip
Martin just weeks after he was removed from the child protection
register. He was killed by his mother and her partner, who were
later convicted of manslaughter and murder respectively.
The council’s social services department was put on special
measures in autumn 1998.
A re-inspection, however, found that the council’s child
protection services are actually outperforming national targets.
Overall improvement in all areas were noted in the council’s
position statement for performance assessment framework.
For child protection, the rates of registration per 10,000
children which had been 38 in 1999 had been reduced from being
above the English national average of 28, to below at 24.
A position statement drawn up by the council before the second
inspection was felt to be an accurate assessment of progress, say
inspectors, who note a “positive will and determination to deliver
improved services” from managers and staff. The comprehensive
strategy for improvement was delivering significant results.
However, more could still be done to improve frontline practice
and outcomes for children. The quality of assessments, rigour of
planning and quality of case recording still had room for
Although the inspection found no children at risk of significant
harm, there were children being neglected who needed to be closely
reviewed. Several audits had been done which had contributed to
improved performance for the timeliness of child protection
Social services and the area child protection committee need to
ensure greater consistency in assessing children’s needs, and
ensure assessments are completed within agreed timescales, it
There need to be clearer guidelines for recording and reporting
children’s feelings. The council should review the adequacy of
out-of-hours social work support, particularly its ability to
respond to children in need and those needing immediate