Ofsted urges Gloucestershire to improve safeguarding and care

Ofsted has criticised Gloucestershire children’s services’ performance on safeguarding and services for looked-after children and those with learning disabilities, in a joint area review this week.

Services were judged to be “adequate” in all three areas by Ofsted and other inspectorates. This was the weakest performance among the nine areas whose reviews were published this week.

The report called on the council to urgently review thresholds for access to core child protection services, which it found to be both high and inconsistent. It also said decisions on access to safeguarding services were not being taken at “an appropriate managerial level”.

Children’s homes inadequate

The inspectorates said that standards were inadequate in most children’s residential care homes, with limited placement choice for looked-after children. It also found high levels of fixed-term exclusions from school among children with learning disabilities or difficulties.

However, educational progress among children with learning disabilities was generally good, while most looked-after children achieved well and received good support. The inspectorates found a strong commitment to safeguarding across children’s services, while services were also judged to be good in terms of management and capacity to improve.

Linda Uren, Gloucestershire Council’s director of commissioning and partnerships, speaking on behalf of all children’s services partners, said: “We are pleased with the achievements that have been highlighted; the report also confirms the areas we know we have to strengthen. All partners are focused on working together to do our very best for children and young people.”

JARs were also published this week for Bracknell Forest, Derby, Hammersmith and Fulham, Knowsley, Leicestershire, LiverpoolNorth Lincolnshire and Wandsworth.

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