A children’s services department involved in a high profile child protection scandal has been praised by Ofsted for its handling of the situation.
In its latest safeguarding and looked after children inspection of Plymouth Council, Ofsted said it had “delivered outstanding work” during an investigation into a paedophile ring at a local nursery.
Vanessa George, 39, a nursery worker at Little Ted’s Day Care Unit in Plymouth, pleaded guilty in October, along with two others, to a string of offences including assault and swapping indecent images of children at the nursery.
The Ofsted inspection report said the incident occurred at the same time as an increase in demand for safeguarding services in the area but the partnership had “delivered outstanding work to secure the safety and well-being of young children and provided a high level of support to their parents”.
It also said such a response would not have been achievable in 2006.
Grading the council’s children’s services as “good” the watchdog noted that the restructuring of the advice and assessment service had shown benefits, but had also led to pressures elsewhere in the services. Supervision was not helped by an “electronic recording system that does not provide timely and accurate case performance reports”.
The watchdog has also rated Peterborough as “inadequate” in its safeguarding and looked after children services. The report said this was largely due to a high turnover of agency staff and managers and a lack of capability amongst some of those staff which had led to a backlog of cases. However, inspectors added that the quality in long term child protection services and preventative services meant there was an “adequate” ability to improve.
Meanwhile, Ofsted has published the first tranche of unannounced inspections since the watchdog revised the criteria for such inspections. There were no areas for priority action listed for any of the councils inspected.