OFSTED ranks Somerset's struggling Children's Services department as inadequate

OFSTED have again deemed Somerset's struggling Children's Services dept as inadequate. The education watchdog says there had been a "corporate failure to keep children safe in Somerset".

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Somerset County Council responds to the report

Julian Wooster, who took up the post of Director of Children's Services just two weeks ago has responded to Ofsted's criticisms.

We fully accept the key findings of this Ofsted inspection and the short-comings it highlights.

Services are not good enough and improvements need to be made quickly and I am here to help make that happen.

Accepting all the criticism in this report, we must also look at the positives. There are examples of good practice, signs that we are starting to turn a corner. We are building on those signs of improvement but it has to happen faster.

It’s a difficult time for Children’s Services and our partners in Somerset but we are not alone – few authorities don’t have improvements to make. Our social workers do a very difficult job and much of my focus will be on supporting and developing them, while challenging them to improve.

Productive partnership working will be another immediate priority. Protecting children is everybody’s responsibility. The council is pivotal but there are many agencies involved and we all need to be performing well and working closely together.

Children deserve better, the inspectors demand better and we, the County Council and our partners, are all committed to safeguarding and improving outcomes for children in Somerset.

– Julian Wooster, Director of Children’s Services

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Ofsted rates Somerset's Children's Services as inadequate

Ofsted has published a damning report into the quality of children's services in Somerset, rating it as inadequate.

The education watchdog says there had been a "corporate failure to keep children safe in Somerset", and said the "continual churn" in the senior leadership team had stopped the development of the service and severely restricted progress.

The education watchdog says there had been a "corporate failure to keep children safe in Somerset" Credit: PA

There are widespread or serious failures which cause children to be harmed or at risk of harm and in the delivery of services for looked after children and care leavers which result in their welfare not being safeguarded and promoted.

Leaders and managers have not been able to demonstrate sufficient understanding of failures

– Ofsted

How the County Council ranked:

  • Children who need help and protection - Inadequate
  • Children looked after and achieving permanence - Inadequate
  • Adoption performance - Requires improvement
  • Experiences and progress of care leavers - Inadequate
  • Leadership, management and governance - Inadequate
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