Officials at Northamptonshire County Council have “accepted unreservedly” the findings of a damning Ofsted report which has labelled the county’s child protection services inadequate.
The highly critical report was published at 9.30am today.
It has called on the county council to implement a number of immediate changes to services, including taking moves to make sure no children are “detained in police custody following charge without good reason”.
Discussing the way vulnerable children in the county are looked after by the authorities, the report said: “Children and young people in Northamptonshire are not effectively protected from harm.
“There are systematic weaknesses and inconsistent and ineffective practices that contribute to children and young people at risk of harm not consistently being recognised or helped.
“Agencies do not focus sufficiently on the potential risks faced by children and young people to ensure that further harm is prevented.”
It added: “There is now a legacy of children and young people who have been exposed to chronic, and periodically acute, harmful experiences, some of which are unlikely to have been either assessed or addressed.”
The chief executive of the council, Paul Blantern, said the authority fully accepted the findings of the investigation.
He said: “There are two major themes emerging from the inspection process. The first is that we and our partners need to improve the way we identify and assess children’s vulnerability so we can reduce the risk of children and young people suffering harm and abuse.
“The second is that we need to make sure we listen to and see things much more from the child’s perspective.
“Children and young people are not being appropriately involved in existing processes and as a result, their feelings and experiences are too infrequently taken into account.”
In response to the report, the council has launched an immediate ‘recovery programme’.
After initially revealing last month that Ofsted had found child protection was inadequate across all the major agencies in Northamptonshire, the Chron later revealed that the man who turned around the London council at the centre of the Baby P scandal had been brought in to head up the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board Northamptonshire (LSCBN) following the exit last November of the previous incumbent, Janet Galley.
Since then calls have also been made for the resignation of county councillor Andrew Grant (Con, Brackley East), the politician whose brief was children’s services up until the end of 2012 when his role was then changed.