Berkshire

Trust to run Slough's 'inadequate' children's services

An independent trust is being set up by the government to run Slough's children's services department.

It follows a critical Ofsted report published in February, and a subsequent review of its services.

Slough Borough Council said it was disappointed with the decision. It said it always tried to get the best outcome for children in its care.

Its services were rated as inadequate following an inspection in November and December last year.

Children's Minister Edward Timpson said the move was being implemented as a result of the review.

In a letter to councillor Rob Anderson, leader of Slough Borough Council, he said there were "serious systemic failures" and "longstanding and serious concerns about the leadership, management and governance" of children's services in Slough.

He said: "The review found the council to be 'reactive and focused on short term rather than sustainable solutions'.

"Putting services beyond the council's control is the right course and wholly proportionate to the problems identified."

'In limbo'

Nushra Mansouri, from the Association of British Social Workers, said the decision to strip the council of its responsibility for looking after children in its care would "only demoralise social workers".

Mr Anderson said: "Our focus throughout has been to continue on our improvement path, which has been delivering results, and not to become distracted by the length of time this process has taken.

"It's especially disappointing that the minister has seen fit to impose an untested solution on us, which risks leaving our children in limbo.

"I would like to stress to residents that our motivation has been, and will remain to be, getting the best outcomes for children in our care."

Ruth Bagley, chief executive of the council, said: "We had made strong representations that a trust was not the swiftest and most effective approach to deliver improvements to children's services and safeguard our children.

"We are now digesting the full implications for the council and will be preparing a response to the minister in due course."

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