Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham children's services: 'Serious failings' remain

Birmingham Council House Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Birmingham City Council welcomed the report

Birmingham City Council is still failing to do enough to protect vulnerable children but there are signs of improvement, a report says.

Its children's services are still inadequate, an Ofsted inspection report concluded, and inspectors said too many children had been identified "as being at risk of immediate harm".

Inspectors identified "serious and widespread failings" in some services.

The council said it was still part-way through a three-year improvement plan.

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The city's children's services has held an inadequate rating since 2008.

Criticisms include "inconsistent" work to tackle sexual exploitation of children, with inspectors concluding "much (of the work) is poor".

Services for children missing from home or care were also described as poor, while disabled children in need of help were having to wait too long for support.

Referrals for domestic abuse were found to be "high" at more than 3,000 per month.

'Not enough'

Inspectors said improvement was also needed to support and plan the care of 94 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

But Ofsted also found "a sharper focus on front-line services" and a more stable workforce following successful measures to keep hold of social workers.

The inspection found "progress" in the adoption service, work with care leavers, looked-after children and tracking youngsters who were missing education.

The council, which welcomed the report, said its plans to spin-off the children's services department as a voluntary trust were continuing.

Cabinet member responsible for children's services Brigid Jones said she saw "this as a positive report in the context of where we expected to be".

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Birmingham City Council has made improvements to the way it runs its children's services, but this progress has not yet gone far enough, fast enough.

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