Yesterday, I talked about the Carlile Report which had been published. Also published yesterday was the results of an unannounced Ofsted inspection in August. Inspectors spent 10 days examining the social services department of the Council and have now announced that child protection standards are inadequate. This was despite interim inspections showing signs of improvement.
Reasons for the downgrading have been cited as:
- a dramatic rise in the number of cases the Council is dealing with.
- the number of child protection investigations trebling and
- the number of referrals increasing by two thirds.
The Director of Children’s Services at Doncaster, Chris Pratt, said “It is clear that we have not yet fully recovered the systematically broken services that we previously had. The reports do acknowledge progress has been made but our progress hasn;t yet come far enough. As a result of better child protection work we are now actually working with an overwhelming number of children. Together with huge difficulties in attracting experienced social work professionals to work in Doncaster”.
Acting Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers, Bridget Robb, said “These unacceptable issues in Doncaster are exacerbated by the single biggest issue facing the majority of child protection professionals in England – that social workers are simply not getting time to see children. GPs are not expected to cure people by filling in forms instead of seeing patients, yet social workers remain chained to their desks unable to spend time with vulnerable children who need their support”.