Commissioning staff and care managers are failing to ensure that children receive services or support when it is needed, new research claims.
Children often only received services when an actual crisis occurred or one was imminent, according to a study by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
About half of respondents said they had not received promised help from social services, or if it was received this was not when it was needed.
The CSCI described the findings as a “major concern”.
Children’s social services’ commissioning arrangements were also found to be under-developed, and the expertise developed in commissioning adult services had not transferred to children’s services.
The study concludes that the best performing councils have effective commissioning processes that allow them to increase efficiency and use of resources.
The study covered 69 children’s services inspections carried out by the Social Services Inspectorate and the CSCI from April 2003 to March 2005. It looked at about 1,600 questionnaires completed by parents as part of the inspections.