One in seven councils in England is “inadequate” at caring for some of the most vulnerable children in society, Ofsted has warned.
At VCF, we would suggest that this figure may be higher than the 20 local authorities named by Ofsted as “unacceptably poor” which in the main represents those that have been willing to acknowledge that they are unable to deliver safe practice; we applaud their morality and are optimistic that they will benefit from much-needed support.
Whilst many will view such findings as shocking, VCF’s own anecdotal evidence illustrates that poor child protection practice is an issue for local authorities nationally, and a case for greater measures to address the gap that exists between management and the frontline.
As a sector, there is increasing recognition that there needs to be a culture of change, with more communication and information sharing within, and between, agencies. Yet, the commitment and innovation to drive such change is still sadly lacking within a child protection system set up to provide effective care of children in this country.
Earlier this year, we were optimistic for a joint inspectorate’s framework, to help to drive through required changes in practice, and whilst the principle of joint inspections remains, the process has been placed on hold until 2015.
Commenting on the Ofsted Report, Mor Dioum, VCF Director said, “In a country that delivers one of the best child protection systems in the world, we are still seeing agencies that offer little or no value to the process of protecting or supporting children. We must continue to develop an inspections framework that enhances the child protection system and supports learning.”
VCF will use its forthcoming 10-year anniversary conference to highlight the challenges and achievements over the last decade from key reforms in place following the Victoria Climbié Inquiry led by Lord Laming in 2003, through to more recent changes arising from The Munro Review of Child Protection.
The programme will reflect current reforms around the revised Public Law Outline (PLO) and the local authority with the legal process fully joined up with analytical social work, a model that places the family social worker at the heart of the expert group.
To access First Social Care Annual Report: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/first-social-care-report-puts-spotlight-leadership-0