Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Overhaul of Cornwall children's services welcomed

Children's services
Cornwall's children's services were rated as inadequate by Ofsted

Government moves to intervene in Cornwall's children's services department have been welcomed.

The government said it would step in to improve the running of the department and safeguard children.

The children's services was rated as inadequate by Ofsted in October. It said children were being left at risk.

Children's Minister Dawn Primarolo said she had contacted the council and was going to establish an improvement board with an independent leader.

They will be supporting us, in effect being a critical friend to help us get the sharpest possible improvement plan
Head of children's services, Richard Hubbard

Richard Hubbard, interim Director for Children, Schools and Families at Cornwall Council, said: "This is a serious situation. Services to vulnerable children and young people have been judged as not good enough and I wholly expected the minister to be taking this stance. I think it's absolutely right that she did so."

In its October report, Ofsted said that children were being left at risk because young people in care were not properly safeguarded.

Inspectors identified a range of failures in care planning, risk assessment and visits by social workers. The department's leadership was also singled out for criticism.

Tough targets

Ms Primarolo said the new board would approve an improvement plan drawn up by the council which must pay regard to targets and requirements from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

The minister said she would "take whatever action is necessary to ensure the safety of children" and that the council will have "tough targets and requirements".

Mr Hubbard said: "They will be supporting us, in effect being a critical friend of the authority to challenge and to help us get the sharpest possible improvement plan and improvement activity going as quickly as possible."



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SEE ALSO
Children's services scrutinised
18 Nov 09 |  Cornwall
Child services are 'inadequate'
23 Oct 09 |  Education
Council appoints interim director
12 Oct 09 |  Cornwall

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