Cumbria’s children services under scrutiny

Cumbria Council’s child and family support service is not paying
enough attention to low-level children in need cases, according to
a report by the Social Services Inspectorate published last

The inspection team, which evaluated the effectiveness of
council services for children in need in October 2000, found that
although staff were hard-working and committed, services tended to
focus on higher level child protection cases.

Staff vacancies in fieldwork and residential care, and the
reorganisation of children’s services, had put the intake teams
under considerable pressure and left them unable to respond to low
level cases, the report says.

While it commends examples of good assessment and planning at
individual case level – with 97 per cent of reviews of children on
the child protection register completed on time – the report said
there were insufficient resources available for support services to
families whose children’s names had been taken off the

It recommended a “significant shift” in refocusing activity
towards family support and preventive services.

Director of social services Mike Siegal said steps had now been
taken to “significantly reduce” the numbers of unallocated

  • Westminster Council’s assessment and care management services
    for older people have been praised by the Social Services

In a report published earlier this month the SSI says the
council has mature relationships with partner agencies and offers
high quality services.

However, it recommended a broader range of services for black
and ethnic minority communities.

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