Barnsley and Rotherham child services told to improve

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Child protection services in South Yorkshire have been told to improve.

Ofsted examined services provided by councils and partner agencies in Barnsley and Rotherham.

Six of the 22 areas looked at in Barnsley were described as inadequate. Agencies said they took the findings very seriously and were making changes.

In Rotherham, all areas were graded as adequate but Ofsted asked for 13 improvements. The council said it had already made changes.

Inspectors said the overall effectiveness of safeguarding services in Barnsley were inadequate, as was leadership and management.

Hospital review

Capacity for improvement, the contribution of health agencies to keeping children and young people safe and ambition and prioritisation were among areas said to be adequate.

Start Quote

The inspectors have made it clear that we are heading in the right direction”

End Quote Councillor Paul Lakin Rotherham

Improvements the service was told to make included ensuring managers keep proper records, carrying out child protection investigations in accordance with protocol and reviewing the arrangements in Barnsley hospital's emergency department for responding to children and young people who have deliberately self-harmed or who are intoxicated.

Simon Hart, chairman of Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board, said: "Despite the overall assessment, the board is pleased that areas of good practice have been recognised.

"However, we are equally concerned about those areas which require improvement and will work with the council and its partners to ensure they are addressed as quickly as possible."

'Reduce caseloads'

In Rotherham, Ofsted said "significant improvements" had been made since 2009, when services were told they were failing to adequately protect children, but further work was needed.

It said there should be a review of cases of serious neglect where children's social services have been involved for a significant period of time and action should be taken to reduce the caseloads of the busiest teams.

Councillor Paul Lakin, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: "The inspectors have made it clear that we are heading in the right direction and that the changes we have made are starting to have an impact.

"Many of the recommendations made were already part of our planning for the future of our services and we will make sure that all their suggestions are fully implemented within the timescales the inspectors have suggested."

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