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SCC childrens' services "inadequate":

posted 6 Jun 2015, 01:17 by Peter Webb   [ updated 6 Jun 2015, 01:21 ]

 A shock  ofsted attached report just  published on 3rd June follows an inspection 21st October to 12th November 2014. It concludes that the areas of service that contribute to overall effectiveness are:

·        children who need help and protection: judged inadequate

·        children looked after and achieving permanence: requires improvement, except for adoption rated "good"

·        Leadership, management and governance: Inadequate

 The situation  can be traced back to a Policy Development and Review  put before the Children and Select Committee on 19th December 2012 entitled Children, Schools and  Families Public value Programme-Update. The Children Schools and Families Directorate had set up the programme in response to rising demand and need, a growing number of families suffereing social disadvantage, a policy emphasis on early help and prevention, supporting families, and delivering integrated disability services; and national and local financial pressures. The broad objective seems to have been to save £40m by shifting responsibilities out to such as parents, schools, police  but without budget transfer. 

The leadership, management and governance failure is detailed by ofsted and must, in addition to humanitarian concerns, be of great concern to taxpayers because it is coupled with anecdotal evidence of staff boredom and "the programme achieved nothing over two years" reputational damage, and the suspicion that lawyers have lately been used at great (taxpayers) expense to appeal the  report. The Review of December 2012 is notable for its language of "strategies" and fine words, and even a list of 37 sources and background papers "reviewed to inform future strategy direction", in other words 'how to do it' padding. 

This topic is front-page headlined in the Surrey Advertiser this morning (5th June) but the Council viewpoint  smoothes over things. The primary failure lies at the top of the council and not just with the cabinet member or directorate. Political management and Party dominance  doesn’t really work now regardless of the merit and 'passionate' belief of some of those individuals. It is not late in the day a question of another £2m will fix it nor should tight central grants be the excuse. Come back Michael Frater !! ( the Frater Report, 2009 ).