A robust improvement plan is being finalised that involves all organisations who work to protect children in Herefordshire. This follows the publication of an Ofsted inspection report today (19 October), that judges safeguarding services to be inadequate in Herefordshire.
A team of Ofsted inspectors undertook an unannounced inspection in September. The inspection report raises a number of areas for improvement including the quality of decision making, information sharing, and stability of the workforce and consistency of quality.
An Improvement Board has been set up to drive forward the necessary changes. It will have an independent chair, will include a representative from the Department for Education and report directly to the Minister.
Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are very disappointed with the findings that lead to this judgement, but accept them.
“Herefordshire Council is one of a number of local authorities who have been at the sharp end of increasingly vigorous inspection criteria in recent months. However, we welcome the fact that Ofsted have raised the bar and will embrace this as an opportunity to change and improve the support we provide to vulnerable families.”
David McCallum, independent chair of the Herefordshire Safeguarding Children Board, added: “Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility, and the vast majority of children in Herefordshire are safe. Our role is to challenge better and make sure all the organisations who deal with protecting children from harm are fully involved.
“All the members of the Board are committed to the improvement plan. The inspectors did acknowledge that there is much good work on which we can build, particularly in early help areas.
“We are determined to pull together and drive forward improvements as quickly as we can to make sure that our children and young people are protected from harm.”