The revelation that so many cases were not allocated to children’s social workers will fuel speculation that an improvement board will be imposed on Birmingham Council.
Children’s minister Tim Loughton has already met council chiefs after another poor Ofsted report in July. The previous government served an improvement notice on the council in February 2009.
After the meeting, Len Clark, the council’s executive member for children’s social care, told the Birmingham Post: “There was impatience about our inability over many years to make improvements and sustain them. I came away with the distinct impression that the minister was taking the view that the time for excuses is long gone. We must begin to address inadequacies in children’s social care promptly and with determination.”
Les Lawrence, lead member for children’s services, told the newspaper that the government may set up a children’s care improvement board – like the one in Doncaster – which would report directly to ministers.
The most recent Ofsted annual report said, although Birmingham had made some improvements in key areas, including most of those required by the improvement notice, some key and important deficiencies remained. These included performance management data and major weaknesses in casework.
In 2008, even before the high-profile death of Khyra Ishaq – the seven-year-old who starved to death in her mother’s house – Ofsted rated the council as inadequate and led to the original improvement notice in 2009.
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