Fylde MP calls for action after county council Ofsted report

FYLDE MP Mark Menzies has demanded action from Lancashire County Council after an Ofsted inspection found its services to protect vulnerable children were ‘inadequate’.

The Member of Parliament has written to county hall to ask for answers after the damning review of the department from the education regulator was announced today.

Ofsted carried out an inspection of the local authority in September and October, interviewing staff and service users made up of children in need of help and protection, looked-after children and care leavers.

The last inspection of the county council’s children’s services department was in March 2012, when services were found to be good overall with some outstanding features. However, Ofsted found that the service has significantly deteriorated since then and identified serious failings in the department.

Tragically, three children died over the inspection period. While it is not known if these deaths could have been prevented, Ofsted inspectors found poor practice in all three cases, and in others where children were not harmed.

Following the announcement, Mr Menzies said: “While Ofsted praised the commitment of front-line staff, the inspectors found serious failings with the management of the department and discovered little training was being provided and too much was being asked of newly-qualified, inexperienced social workers.

“While staff are trying to deliver vital services to some of our most vulnerable young people, they are being let down by a failure of leadership and a failure from management to take responsibility. This raises serious questions over Lancashire County Council’s abilities to provide services for the people of this county.

“Many other local authorities are able to provide good or outstanding services to protect vulnerable young people and I am heartened to hear that Lancashire has accepted it needs to learn lessons to ensure children receive the protection they deserve.

“I have today written to the Chief Executive to request information on how the council intends to turn this situation around and provide the people of Lancashire with the services they deserve.”

The inspection is the first time the county council has been inspected under a new regime introduced in 2014, following a review of the child protection system in 2011 by leading child protection expert, Professor Eileen Munro.

She found the old inspection system was overly bureaucratic, failed to value professional expertise, and did not focus on the safety and welfare of children and young people.

Comments are closed.