OFSTED have published their report, on the inspection of Tameside’s children’s services from two months ago, today.
The inspection took place from September 26 to October 20 and the adoption performance was the only area rated “good” by Ofsted.
Both the children who need protection service and the leadership, management and governance were rated “inadequate”.
“Serious and widespread failings in services to children in need of help and protection” was a key reason behind one of the area being rated “inadequate”.
The report stated: “These failings, along with services for children looked after that require improvement, represent a deterioration in the quality of service provided to children and young people since the local authority was last inspected in March 2012.”
The report also mentioned that a “larger number of children were experiencing unacceptable delay before their circumstances were considered by a suitably qualified and experienced social worker.”
It later went on to say that children at risk of sexual exploitation were “not being adequately assessed corresponded to at the right threshold level”, meaning that the positive impact was limited.
During the inspection there was an immediate review and the local authority found that none of the children waiting were in immediate harm but “a number required referral for social work assessment.”
The action managed to reduce the number of children waiting but did not resolve it.
Councillor Kieran Quinn, Executive Leader of Tameside Council, said:
“Clearly I am very disappointed with Ofsted’s assessment of children’s services in Tameside.
“To put this in context, Tameside is now amongst the nearly 90% of the North West population living in an area judged by Ofsted, under their new tougher framework, to need improvement in its children’s service.
“No stone will be left unturned in the work to find new, innovative and financially sustainable ways to deliver better services.”
Steven Pleasant, Chief Executive of Tameside Council, said:
“We have already started to develop our response and plan our improvement journey.
“We have sought advice from the Local Government Association (LGA) and other councils so we are developing a response based on experience and best practice.
“We have appointed an external independent chair to lead our improvement board.
“The improvement board will include senior leaders from across the public, community and voluntary sectors, and will provide challenge to the pace and scale our improvement plans.
“An open and positive dialogue with staff is developing ideas for improvement with a focus on looking forward to the future and the opportunity to change things together for the better.
Councillor Peter Robinson, Executive Member for Children and Families at Tameside Council, said:
“When I took on the role of Executive Member for Children and Families back in January this year I knew it would be both a challenge and a responsibility.
“Ofsted’s judgement is disappointing, but I know we have the staff and the caring community to ensure we can improve our services and give vulnerable children the opportunities while growing up to help them achieve their dreams.”
The full report can be read here.