Blackpool turns around children’s services

The council is no longer under Department for Education scrutiny after targeting early intervention and tackling child sexual exploitation

blackpool
Blackpool town centre. Photo: Joel Goodman/LNP/REX

Blackpool council is no longer under government scrutiny after making improvements to its children’s service.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson wrote to the leader of the council to lift the improvement notice placed on the council in November 2012 after receiving an inadequate Ofsted rating.

Sharing information

In his letter to Cllr Simon Blackburn, Timpson said the council had made good progress addressing the issues raised in the inadequate Ofsted report by improving its information-sharing and work with other agencies.

He added the council’s early adoption of multi-agency working had helped tackle child sexual exploitation. The council had also got better at using the views of children in care when changing services and had secured extra funding for early intervention services.

Recruitment

He said: “Good services rely on good social workers and I was happy to be told that whilst some recruitment continues, new advanced practitioners will be sought, service manager posts have been recruited to, and newly qualified social workers are enjoying their work with Blackpool.”

The July 2012 Ofsted report found performance management was not effective, management decision making in the duty and assessment team was not robust enough to ensure children were being kept safe, and child protection work was not sufficiently focused on the experience of the child. Safeguarding within the child sexual exploitation team was identified as an area of particular weakness.

‘Radical overhaul’

Cllr Blackburn said: “I was the first to hold my hands up in 2012 and admit our child protection services were just not good enough. The findings in the report were horrifying and I am not ashamed to admit that I lost sleep over it.

“The last three years have seen a radical overhaul of our children’s services. We have examined and where necessary improved every step of our process. It is particularly pleasing to see the hard work of our staff acknowledged.”

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