Birmingham & Black Country

Sandwell Council names new children's services boss after Ofsted report

Councillor Simon Hackett
Image caption Simon Hackett said he planned to look at the service from the perspective of a child

A new head of children's services has been appointed at Sandwell Council following a damning report from Ofsted.

Councillor Bob Badham resigned on Wednesday, soon after Helen Smith, Director of Children's Services, following the release of the report.

Ofsted inspectors found the department to be "inadequate" and failing vulnerable children in the area.

Councillor Simon Hackett has taken over from Mr Badham and said he was determined to improve the service.

"I see it as a challenge and something we can turn around. Like everyone else, a few days ago I read the report and frankly it was awful," he said.

During an inspection in February Ofsted found families of vulnerable children were insufficiently supported by the council and in some cases were at risk of "significant harm".

Improve relations

The local authority said it was aware of failings in the department and was taking action to improve performance.

It said 70 extra social workers had been taken on last year and it was improving relations between staff and the police.

The council said it had also started to work with a private sector partner, iMPOWER to improve services.

Mr Hackett said he was planning to spend time in each part of the department, looking at it from the perspective of a child or young person.

It is not the first time the council has been criticised by Ofsted over the service.

Sandwell Children's Services was judged to be "inadequate" in 2009, but following an inspection in January 2012 it was found to have improved and was rated "adequate".

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