DfE orders review of children’s services at ‘inadequate’ council

The move comes after Ofsted inspectors identified ‘serious and widespread failures’ at Kirklees council

Department for Education

The government has ordered a review to determine whether Kirklees council should be stripped of its responsibility for services following a highly-critical inspection report.

The Department for Education has appointed Eleanor Brazil as a commissioner to oversee the Kirklees services after Ofsted inspectors rated the local authority as ‘inadequate’ and found “serious and widespread failures” had left some children unprotected.

During the inspection, 100 cases were referred back to the authority for urgent review after serious concerns were identified. Support for staff was found to be inconsistent, with too many social workers not receiving induction, training or supervision. An electronic recording system underpinning social workers’ practice was also “not fit for purpose”, Ofsted said.

Social worker and manager compliance with practice standards “continues to be a serious issue” in Kirklees. New practice standards had recently been introduced, but during the inspection some workers and managers were found to be failing to comply with them.

Ofsted said the standards of social work practice at the council had “significantly deteriorated” since 2011.

“Despite extensive efforts by leaders, managers and members to improve services…there remain many children and young people who are experiencing a poor service because of inadequate social work practice and poor frontline management,” the report said.

It added how the “poor quality of data” produced by the local authority’s recording system hindered improvements.

“For example, managers are unable to report accurately on children being seen and they do not have confidence in the management information produced, but instead develop manual systems to understand performance.

“Inspectors found the quality of data the performance data produced by the local authority to be unreliable, with serious deficiencies in its accuracy.”

The report said senior managers and leaders had secured funding for a new electronic recording system.

Ofsted recommended the council take “urgent action” to make sure children receiving services were safeguarded. It also needed to support staff to have more consistent relationships with children and deliver high-quality services through manageable caseloads, induction, supervision and training.

Brazil will provide a report to ministers recommending whether or not the council should lose control of its children’s services. She was previously commissioner in Sandwell, where she recommended those children’s services should be taken out of council control after ruling progress had not been good enough.

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8 Responses to DfE orders review of children’s services at ‘inadequate’ council

  1. Paul November 30, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    Lets start naming and shaming the useless IT systems as are too many about. Often bought by people with no experience at the user end

    • Gerald November 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

      Blaiming the Computer is a cop out and will not solve anything ,stick to the nitty gritties a total over haul the complete system is required.

    • Karen December 1, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      I agree. The IT system is just one cog in the wheel. We need to know so that we can make informed decisions ourselves.

  2. Agnes November 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Sad to see how far Kirklees has deteriorated As an ex employee who left in 2015 I felt it had become harder and harder to maintain an adequate standard in my job and to challenge poor practice and management

  3. Right to reply December 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    Out of interest what computer system do Kirklees use? E.g. Liquid logic or care first etc

  4. Phil December 1, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    Let’s see how much more the high flying agency supplied Senior Management can leech from the system before the bubble bursts!!

  5. Kirsty blaney December 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Sod the computer system what about all the poor children being failed .. Disgusting practise !!!

  6. Trevor Jones December 29, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    What a disgrace…. the computer system is not the real issue here, its the people who are in charge. They are poor leaders who lack the ability to manage. Blaming the computer system is the easy way out….it is simply a tool for them to use and has served them well for many years by the sound of it – then all of a sudden one day because of a bad inspection its the one thing that’s wrong – I think not, when will the Council start to manage people and their budgets. And the real laugh of all is that these people who were in charge will now go somewhere else and do the same thing!