'We know our children's services are not working well and we will put this right', promises Northamptonshire County Council after damning report

One Angel Square, headquarters of Northamptonshire County Council
One Angel Square, headquarters of Northamptonshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council has pledged a "far-reaching programme of improvements" after a damning report from Ofsted on children's services was published on Tuesday morning.

The highly-critical report said children in Northamptonshire were not "consistently or effectively assessed, support or protected" when they were referred to children's social care. The report also said a total of 267 children were without an allocated social worker and have not been seen by the county council for long periods.

Following the publication of the report, cabinet member for Children, Families and Education, Councillor Victoria Perry, said she was committed to working alongside the council’s new leadership team to rise to the challenges outlined in Ofsted’s focused inspection.

Councillor Perry said: “We know that our children’s services are not working well and we will put this right. It is clear from the findings from Ofsted that these failures in the system have taken place over the last two years and we are now completely focused on recovering from these failures.

“We are pleased the inspectors recognise the new senior leadership team in place at the council has begun to tackle the weaknesses in the service which have arisen since 2016. The issues had started to be identified prior to Ofsted’s focused inspection.

“While we will need to focus on improvements in safeguarding it is also equally critical we do far better in early help and prevention.”

The findings of Ofsted follow something called a ‘focused inspection’ which took place on October 17-18. These are smaller scale than full inspections and focus on a particular part of the service.

This year the focused inspection looked specifically at the arrangements for managing contacts and referrals into the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH).

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