Ofsted has noted a number of improvements to Doncaster’s troubled children’s services, but said delayed decisions about safeguarding children at risk of significant harm were of major concern.
In a report on an unannounced inspection that took place in January, Ofsted said Doncaster needed to take priority action to ensure decision-making about safeguarding children was consistent and prompt.
It also highlighted areas for development including embedding child protection procedures and referral pathways at a practice level, as well as improving the council’s “under-developed” electronic recording system.
However, Ofsted applauded Doncaster’s senior managers for “effective leadership” in identifying shortfalls and their strong commitment to improvement over the past eight months. It also noted a decrease in social workers’ caseloads.
The publication of the report came days after Chris Pratt joined Doncaster as its new director of children’s services, and two weeks after the imprisonment of two young brothers who had been in Doncaster’s care when they launched a serious assault on two other boys in the town of Edlington last April.
Pratt said: “A great deal more still needs to be done and we are pursuing the further improvements that are needed with great vigour.”
Meanwhile, Attorney general Lady Scotland has been asked to reconsider the sentences given to the Edlington attackers after complaints they were too lenient. The boys, now aged 11 and 12, were jailed for a minimum of five years and sent to a secure children’s home