Page last updated at 10:32 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 11:32 UK

Children 'not properly protected'

A child at home
Leeds City Council has carried out a review of child protection cases

Leeds City Council is failing to protect some children who are at risk of abuse, an inspection has found.

An Ofsted review said the council's response to child protection referrals did not ensure children were "adequately safeguarded".

Inspectors identified some children as having been left "at potential risk of serious harm".

The council said it had undertaken a "major review" of cases and additional checks were in place.

The unannounced inspection was carried out on 21 and 22 July.

It follows a serious case review published in July into the death of two-year-old Casey Mullen, which found better communication between agencies in the city could have have prevented the death of the toddler, who was raped and murdered by her uncle.

Children are not always seen, even when there are concerns about their safety
Ofsted inspection

Ofsted said children were identified as having been left "at potential risk of serious harm" during an initial reading of case records.

When inspectors reviewed records from a further sample of cases, they found seven out of 23 children to be at risk.

In a letter to Rosemary Archer, the council's director of children's services, Ofsted said: "The response to child protection referrals does not meet statutory guidance and does not ensure that children are adequately safeguarded.

"Child protection strategy discussions with the police and other agencies do not take place in a timely manner or in all relevant circumstances.

"Children are not always seen, even when there are concerns about their safety."

'Effective action'

Ms Archer said: "We recognise and fully accept the seriousness of the inspection's findings.

"For this reason we responded within hours to the concerns of the inspectors and we took effective action to see immediately the children identified as being left at potential risk of serious harm, so we could assess their situation in order to assure their safety.

"In the weeks since the inspection we have undertaken a major review of previous cases to ensure that no children are being left at potential risk of serious harm.

"We have also put into place additional checks to make sure all reviews, involving new cases where a potential risk of serious harm is identified, meet required standards."



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