Failings found in Cumbria's children's services

A report has highlighted major failings in the care of vulnerable children in Cumbria. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found that 4 out of 18 areas they examined were inadequate.

Currently, around 600 children in Cumbria are looked after by the local authority and its partners with the aim of protecting the youngsters from harm. The Council and the agencies are also responsible for safeguarding children from any impairments to their health and development.

In April inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission looked at how well these services are provided.

Their report, published today, found several major weaknesses and identified areas where improvements are needed to bring the standards up to the level that children should be receiving.

The inspectors looked at 18 areas of the work carried out by Cumbria County Council's Children's Services and other agencies. Of those only 1 was found to be good. 13 were considered to be adequate and four areas of the work were judged to be inadequate.

The failings surrounded the quality of the service, weaknesses in performance management, and concerns about the health of children who are looked after. It wasn't just the county council that was criticised - the contribution of health agencies was also highlighted as a problem.

Of 67 child cases reviewed by the inspectors 15 had to be sent back because errors had been found.

An improvement board will now look at how things can be changed to make sure that, in all areas, children receive the very best service in future.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron says it's a tragedy that the leadership across the county has been inadequate and what is needed is a proper action plan.

He adds that the problems can't be attributed to current government cuts and current government policy.