Improvements Made To Protect Children

The findings by Ofsted into the way Cornwall Council keeps vulnerable children and young people safe from harm highlighted the significant improvements, which have been made over the past two years.

Cornwall Council's safeguarding arrangements had been deemed inadequate during inspections back in 2009 and 2011

In December last year the local authority had 492 children in their care, along with 565 children who are subject to a child protection plan....

But now, during an unannounced inspection, improvements have been found to have been made in the quality and effectiveness of the authority’s social work and early help services.

The report from Ofsted Inspectors commends the significant progress which has been made in tackling the issues identified in previous inspections and concludes that the effectiveness of the help and protection provided for the most vulnerable children and young people is now judged as “adequate”.

(Ofsted has 4 categories: inadequate; adequate; good; and outstanding and it is highly unusual for an authority to move up more than one category at a time.) 

The overall effectiveness of local authority arrangements to protect children in Cornwall is adequate.  Significant progress has been made by the local authority and its partners in tackling the deep rooted problems which led to safeguarding arrangements being judged inadequate by Ofsted in the safeguarding and looked after children’s inspections in 2009 and 2011.

“Some services have been re-structured and new services developed, alongside new processes and systems, and this has made a significant contribution to ensuring that child protection concerns are responded to promptly and that children in Cornwall get help and protection when they need it”.

A team of seven Ofsted Inspectors, including both the national lead for social work practice and the Inspector who inspected the authority where Peter Connelly (Baby P) died, spent two weeks in Cornwall during February inspecting the quality and effectiveness of the arrangements to protect children and young people in Cornwall.

During the inspection, (which was arranged with just one hour’s notice for the Council) the team examined a significant number of cases and interviewed frontline managers and practitioners.  They also spoke to children and young people, their parents and carers, observed practice and sought feedback from other professionals.

The report’s findings have been welcomed by Cornwall’s Director of Children’s Services Trevor Doughty.  he's been talking to our reporter Wendy Buckingham  CLICK HERE   

 Lead Member Neil Burden is also delighted  CLICK HERE .  

The report highlights a number of specific strengths, including the effectiveness of the early intervention service and the quality of leadership provided by senior managers and the lead member for children’s services. 

Other strengths include the creation of the Multi -Agency Referral Unit, the  Children in Need Service, the Foundation for Social Work in Cornwall, the investment in the career structure for social workers, and the core curriculum for social workers and other social care staff.

The report also identifies a number of areas for further improvement, including ensuring that every child in need has an up to date child protection plan and are seen within expected timescales; and that progress on plans is systematically monitored.

Cornwall has approximately 117,000 children and young people under the age of 19 years old.