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5 April 2016, 17:12 | Updated: 6 April 2016, 18:17
After inspectors found help for young people in Dudley was inadequate - the council's boss says she's not surprised.
The Ofsted report, based on an inspection at the start of this year, says there are serious and widespread failures in the children's services department.
Today, after the inspection's findings were released to the public schools, police and community leaders promised to work together change to the way children are cared for across Dudley.
Sarah Norman, Chief Executive at Dudley Council, spoke to Heart:
“The care and development of our children is at the heart of everything we are doing. We have been making good progress on sweeping improvements to the service for over 12 months, and I am pleased the report from Ofsted report has recognised this. We will continue to build on the areas which have been highlighted to us, including a more joined up approach with our vital partner agencies to make sure that we continue to put the needs of children first and foremost.”
West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Richard Fisher, said:
“We all acknowledge that partnership working across agencies is crucial to ensuring swift improvements in our response to safeguarding children. As members of the Children and Young Persons Alliance we are well placed to drive this improvement journey forward and support our council and health colleagues to ensure between us, we offer the best service possible to our young people.”
Jo Hartill, primary head teacher representative on the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board told Heart:
“Schools have such a huge impact on the way children develop, and I am delighted to see the real opportunities by working together with partners. The changes that everyone can bring will have an overall positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people.”
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley, said:
"The care of our borough's most vulnerable children must be the highest priority for Dudley Council and for us as a society. Whilst Ofsted’s report is deeply concerning, it recognises that significant organisational improvements have been made during the last year. I am confident that Dudley's Chief Executive, Sarah Norman, and our political leaders are taking this report immensely seriously and are actively working to vastly improve the care provided for children and young people, as well as the support for vulnerable families."