Peterborough children's services rated 'poor'

Children's services at Peterborough City Council has performed poorly for the second year running, according to Ofsted.

The department was given the rating in its annual performance assessment following a highly critical inspection report in August.

Ofsted said there were "significant" weaknesses but most areas were good.

Service director Adrian Loades said the report was a sound reflection of its strengths and weaknesses.

He took over when John Richards resigned in September over the Ofsted report on the safeguarding of children.

At that time Ofsted assessed the department in nine categories, finding it inadequate in seven of them, adequate in one and good in another.

It found serious deficiencies in the social care fieldwork service, resulting in too many children and young people being left without sufficient safeguards or adequate protection arrangements.

'Serious finding'

The annual assessment states: "In August 2011, a full re-inspection of safeguarding services identified continuing inadequate provision in parts of the service.

"Consequently, the children's services assessment for 2011 remains as performing poorly because of the serious nature of this finding.

"The weaknesses in safeguarding are significant. However, the majority of services.... are good or better overall and the large majority of provision helps children and young people to learn and stay safe."

More early years and childcare providers are "at least good" this year, as is the very large majority of nursery and primary school provision, Ofsted added.

Two of the three local authority children's homes are outstanding and the other is good, with the level of poor attendance at some secondary school pupils reducing.

Children's services needs to improve the safeguarding of looked after children and "serious deficiencies remain in the social care fieldwork service", Ofsted said.

Mr Loades added: "We recognised these weaknesses and took immediate and direct action and are already starting to work through a robust improvement plan to ensure children in Peterborough are being safeguard properly."

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