Gloucestershire children’s services ‘taking too long to improve’

gloucestershire childrens services taking too long to improve - Gloucestershire children's services 'taking too long to improve'Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Children were not being assessed quickly enough, inspectors found

Children’s services in Gloucestershire are taking too long to address critical weaknesses, a watchdog has said.

Oftsed has carried out an inspection of Gloucestershire County Council’s children’s services, after its inadequate rating three years ago.

The report found the quality of support for vulnerable youngsters was “inconsistent” and some were left in situations of risk for too long.

The council says it is committed to tackling weaknesses in the service.

Other areas of concerns included a decline in the quality of service for disabled children due to a high staff turnover.

The report said: “The impact on brothers and sisters of living with a disabled child is not always fully considered, and therefore is not addressed within planning.

“Transition planning for children with disabilities starts too late, creating uncertainty for all involved.”

Overall children did not get help at the earliest opportunity and the quality of assessments was also “too variable”.

‘Disappointing’

Inspectors also said the needs of the adults in the family were put ahead of the child’s “lived experience”.

Although some progress had been made in filling vacant posts, 32% of the workforce were still agency social workers.

Cabinet member for children and young people, Richard Boyles said: “It’s encouraging that Ofsted recognise the improvements we have made and can see the impact they are making, such as the success we have had stabilising our workforce and the quality of our training and development.

“Retaining our staff will play a big part in maintaining and embedding our progress which will bring increased consistency.

“It is of course disappointing that the changes we have made have not consistently resulted in improvements in practice, but we are committed to tackling this.”

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