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Council fined after sensitive files are found in cabinet sent to secondhand shop

Norfolk County Council have been fined after sensitive files were found in a cabinet sent to a second hand shop

Norfolk County Council has been fined £60,000 after sensitive files about children were left in a cabinet sent to a second-hand shop as part of an office move.

The Information Commissioner's Office imposed the punishment after a member of the public bought the cabinet and discovered the social work case files. They included information relating to seven children.

Steve Eckersley, ICO head of enforcement, said

For no good reason Norfolk County Council appears to have overlooked the need to ensure it had robust measures in place to protect this information. It should have had a written procedure in place which made it clear that any storage items removed from the office which may have contained personal information were thoroughly checked before disposal.

– Steve Eckersley, Information Commissioner's Office

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Children's Services in Norfolk still rated 'inadequate'

Norfolk's most vulnerable children are still being failed by the county's Children Services department in the latest report from the watchdog Ofsted.

Children's Services in Norfolk still rated 'inadequate' Credit: Ian West/PA Archive

Ofsted says Norfolk County Council Children's Services are "inadequate" and says there are "widespread or serious failures" that mean the welfare of looked after children is not safeguarded and promoted.

The Council welcomed the view of inspectors that "significant improvements" had been made since 2013 but disputed the final rating.

"There is much in the report that we welcome and agree with, which is why we can’t agree with its ultimate conclusion.

“But it is clear from the report that children are now much safer and better protected than they were two years ago."

– Cllr James Joyce, Chair of Norfolk's Children's Services Committee

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Council promises foster care investigation

There are calls for an investigation into claims Social Services in Norfolk wrongly removed vulnerable children from foster carers.

The calls come after the County Council branded inadequate in an Oftsed inspection two years ago - suspended a member of staff over allegations he removed a child from care without evidence of deliberate harm. The Norfolk Foster Carers' Association Carers claim there have been dozens of similar cases in the last four years. The council has promised a thorough investigation.

Norfolk services get technology boost

Norfolk County Council will use new technology to boost services Credit: ITV News Anglia

Public services in Norfolk are set to be boosted by investment in new technology.

Norfolk County Council have announced an agreement with HP, Microsoft and Vodafone which they say will help give staff the best new equipment to improve their services.

They say it could also shave spending by allowing them to become more efficient with the services they provide.

MP criticises council's tobacco investment

Norwich South Lib Dem MP Simon Wright Credit: ITV Anglia

Norwich South MP Simon Wright is calling on the County Council to stop the Norfolk Pension Fund investing in the tobacco industry.

Mr Wright says it contradicts the council's policy of promoting public health.

Norfolk County Council says it's waiting for guidance Credit: ITV Anglia

The council says it understands his concerns and is waiting for guidance from the Government.

Council brings in extra social workers to address problems

James Joyce, cabinet member for safeguarding children at Norfolk County Council. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A major campaign to recruit at least 50 new and experienced children's social workers for Norfolk has been launched.

The county council has invested £5m in front-line social work which it hopes to use to make caseloads more manageable and help more families stay together.

It follows highly-critical reports by Ofsted inspectors and a warning from children's minister Edward Timpson that the government will step in if the authority does not make "rapid and sustainable improvement" to children's services.

The county council has already recruited more than 20 agency social workers on six-month contracts while it looks to bring in permanent staff.

James Joyce, cabinet member for safeguarding children, said: “The safety of Norfolk’s children is our foremost priority and we must get it right.

"That is why we want social workers to have the time they need to work with families and support them to look after their children because there is absolutely no question that children should be with their families, whenever that is possible."

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