Sandwell suspends 10 from children’s safeguarding

    Sandwell Council has suspended up to 10 social workers after an unannounced Ofsted inspection of its safeguarding services.

    The West Midlands council has confirmed that they were suspended as a result of “an internal examination of staff performance” which followed publication of the Ofsted report.

    The council would not say why the 10 were suspended or how many of them were frontline professionals.

    The Ofsted report of its unannounced inspection of Sandwell’s safeguarding and looked-after children services was published on 13 January. Although looked-after children’s services were rated adequate, performance on safeguarding was deemed inadequate.

    Among other criticisms, the report said: “The response from children’s social care to some referrals is inadequate, with reported inconsistencies in the timeliness and effectiveness of action.”

    Concerns were also expressed about frequent staff turnover and the overuse of agency social workers, which led to managers having to “act down in order to fill practice gaps”.

    Sandwell Council declined to comment further on the disciplinary proceedings. Ian Jones, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We cannot go into further details because in-depth investigations are ongoing.”

    However, he added that suspension was a “neutral act” which carried “no suggestion of guilt”.

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