Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Child service improvements needed

Improvements are needed in children's services in Cambridgeshire, but its operation is mostly rated as adequate, with the leadership praised as good.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspected Cambridgeshire County Council's services in September this year.

Its report says some children in need of referral are not allocated to a social worker quickly enough.

Ofsted said this and assessment arrangements needed to be improved.

The report says the council should "improve the timeliness and quality of assessments, case planning and the consistency of managerial oversight of cases".

'Considerable efforts'

The council must also "ensure that record keeping is improved".

The report rates 26 of the inspected areas in the adequate category and eight as good.

Ofsted gives four ratings to authorities: outstanding (grade 1), good (grade 2), adequate (grade 3) and inadequate (grade 4).

Inspectors said the overall effectiveness of the safeguarding services was adequate, with statutory requirements being met.

It adds that improvements in services are taking place.

Inspectors praised the "considerable efforts" made towards establishing a clear vision for the service.

'Strong partnership'

The inspectors remarked on the high morale of the children's social care workforce.

Their report added: "Leadership shown across the partnership has resulted in a shared vision and agreed priorities for improvement.

"Strong partnership is in place across all agencies and services, with clear commitment to prioritise the needs of looked after children."

Martin Curtis, the council's cabinet member for children, said: "I am pleased that inspectors confirmed the ongoing improvements that we are making in Cambridgeshire.

"Expectations of local authorities in safeguarding are understandably high and rightly increasing.

"We have good social workers and morale is high. We were already aware of the issues for action and have moved forward on many of them - particularly the recruitment and retention of social workers."

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