1. ITV Report

Tameside Council 'inadequate' in protecting vulnerable children

Tameside Council 'inadequate' in safeguarding children Photo: Press Association

Children's services in Tameside have been downgraded to ‘inadequate’ in Ofsted's latest report.

Tameside Council was branded ‘inadequate’ for children needing help and protection, and also 'inadequate' in leadership, management and governance.

The report criticised managers and identified a huge backlog of cases.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council Credit: Google Street View

More than 350 cases were waiting to be dealt with at the time of the inspection and more than 150 children considered at ‘medium’ risk of domestic abuse were still to be assessed.

Although none of those children were said to be at immediate risk of harm, the council was criticised for failing to deal with the backlog, leaving some children waiting up to two months.

‘Keeping vulnerable children safe is our number one priority, so it is reassuring that Ofsted did not find evidence of immediate harm. But our job is to do much more than that.

The ambition of our committed and passionate workforce is not only to keep vulnerable children safe but to give them the opportunities available to all children and prepare them for a fulfilling adult life. To ensure we do that the voice and experience of children will be the guide for how we plan and change services to meet their needs.’

– Stephanie Butterworth, Director of Children’s Services at Tameside Council

Council leaders say the cases have now been cleared and say they are developing a response and planning an improvement journey.

We have sought advice from the Local Government Association and other councils so we are developing a response based on experience and best practice.

We have appointed an external independent chair to lead our improvement board. The improvement board will include senior leaders from across the public, community and voluntary sectors, and will provide challenge to the pace and scale our improvement plans.

– Steven Pleasant, Chief Executive of Tameside Council