I’ve just finished reading the latest Ofsted report on Salford’s Childrens Services and it doesn’t make pleasant reading. Regular viewers of my blog (or even those willing to try a casual search here for either ofsted or childrens services), will know that I’ve written often about this subject, none of it flattering to Salford Council.
As the last few years have gone by, Salfords Childrens Services has fallen from good, to adequate, inadequate and now poor (the lowest possible rating). We are at rock-bottom. Whilst it’s not all doom and gloom in the Ofsted report (for example it points out that the majority of our secondary schools are good or better at helping young people develop the knowledge and skills necessary to gain a job, that achievement of three to five year-olds has been above the average[s] for similar areas, the large majority of schools have good or better behaviour and more children and young people taking part in physical activities and sport), the ‘poor’ areas make difficult reading.
The Manchester Evening News reports that this year’s rating is worse than 2009, when it was rated ‘adequate’. But in fact, my blog readers may remember in June I wrote here about a scathing report from Ofsted which branded safeguarding services ‘inadequate’ for the second time in four years. This time, Inspectors said the council had still not taken ‘sufficiently robust action’ to improve its safeguarding services. Safeguarding services monitor and provide support for children living in the community and deemed to be at risk from neglect or abuse.
In the June report, Ofsted found child-protection concerns were not properly identified or responded to quickly ‘leaving some children at potential risk’. Caseloads of some social workers in the court and child protection team were too high.
And, as the Evening News reports, since August the department has been subject to a notice ordering it to improve – the government says it could take over running the department if there isn’t significant improvement by next month. I urged the government to step in and take control in my last blog post in June and today I repeat that call again.
Salford Council have had enough time to improve and have failed to do so.