Reports slam Doncaster over children’s services

Weak leadership, underfunding and historic conflicts between councillors, managers and other agencies have been blamed for serious failings at Doncaster Council’s children’s services.

That was the verdict of two separate reports put before the council’s children and young people overview and scrutiny panel last week.

A report commissioned by the Department of Children, Schools and Families blamed a restructure in 2005 for a lack of money in children’s services.

Restructure failed

A second report commissioned from social care consultant Andrew Williamson by council leaders, concluded the restructure failed to identify clear lines of accountability. It also identified a high turnover of managers since the restructure that left staff without support.

The failings were compounded by the poor relationship between the elected Mayor, Martin Winter, and most of the council, the DCSF report said.

Serious problems in children’s services failed to be dealt with because they were not brought to the attention of the Mayor and elected members. There was also poor partnership working between agencies, and weaknesses in the local strategic partnership, children’s trust arrangements and local safeguarding children board.

Winter has now resigned and an external management board responsible to minister has been put in place.

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