Doncaster Council will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss five “serious child protection cases” in the South Yorkshire borough.
The extraordinary council meeting has been called by leaders of the council’s Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Alliance of Independent Members groups, all of whom are in opposition on the authority.
The borough is run by an elected Mayor, Martin Winter, who was formerly in the Labour Party but is now an unaffiliated independent, and his cabinet consists of other independents and members of the Community Group party.
Cases raised by the press
The motion for tomorrow’s meeting says that the cases had been raised with councillors by the local press, not council officers, and it calls for the council “to put in place safeguards that fully ensure that this never happens again”.
The debate comes after the Department for Children, Schools and Families announced it would intervene in Doncaster’s children’s services after it was rated as inadequate in Ofsted’s annual performance assessment, both overall and in safeguarding.
On safeguarding, the APA found:-
- The local safeguarding children board has not ensured effective implementation of procedures and practice to support the management of child protection allegations.
- The number of children subject to a child protection plan is significantly higher than in similar authorities.
- One in four child protection cases was not allocated to a social worker.
- The number of looked-after children with an allocated social worker has declined significantly.
- The proportion of initial and core assessments completed within target timescales is low and significantly worse than in similar authorities.
Steadfast improvement plan
A Doncaster Council spokesperson said interim children’s services director Paul Gray, who was appointed last April, had “implemented a steadfast ongoing improvement and prevention programme”.
She said this included increased investment, a complete reorganisation of the children’s services directorate and recruiting more specialist staff.
Serious case review
In December, a serious case review into the death of a 10-month-old boy found children’s services at Doncaster were “grossly inadequate.”
The review into the case known as child A revealed the department had failed to respond to ten referrals about the family.
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