Cornwall failing to protect children says Ofsted

Cornwall’s children’s services are failing to ensure children and young people are safe and the council has failed to address or make improvements to problems recognised in a 2008 joint area review, according to a report published by Ofsted today.

The criticisms are contained in its report of a September inspection, the anticipation of which caused Dean Ashton, former director of children’s services, to resign earlier this month. Ofsted has given Cornwall an overall rating of “inadequate”.

The report also identified service responsiveness, and case planning, review and recording as serious problems. In services for looked after children, Cornwall was rated inadequate in assessment and direct work with children, ambition and prioritisation, and value for money, among others.

An apology has been issued in a joint statement from Cornwall Council, NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Devon and Cornwall Police and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board.

The statement said, “We would like to apologise to the children, young people and families in Cornwall who are failing to receive the quality of services they deserve.  Our aim is to create an excellent service which safeguards all our children and young people and meets their needs. 

“We recognise that many parents and carers in Cornwall will be worried by the findings of this report and would like to reassure them that plans are already being drawn up to improve these services.”

In response to the report this morning Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo said, “We have been working urgently with Cornwall, who recognise the seriousness of these concerns and who have taken immediate steps to appoint a new interim director of children’s services, who has already taken up post.

“We will now ensure that the council puts in place full and robust plans, very quickly indeed – that will get to the heart of the problems and secure rapid and sustainable improvement.”

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Cornwall children’s director quits over Ofsted probe

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