Stoke & Staffordshire

Commissioner to oversee 'inadequate' children's services

Stock image of child Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Stoke-on-Trent improvement plan was "being taken forward as a matter of urgency", the Department for Education said

A commissioner has been appointed to oversee improving council children's services that were rated inadequate.

Eleanor Brazil has been given the role for Stoke-on-Trent, after a report in March from watchdog Ofsted said vulnerable children were "not being protected" by the city council.

The authority has said it is taking immediate action to make improvements.

A plan for getting better was "being taken forward as a matter of urgency", the Department for Education said.

The commissioner will support the council in its improvements for a year, at which time a decision will be made on whether it needs further support.

Too many children came into care in crisis, too many waited too long to be reunited with their families, there were insufficient fostering placements and social workers' caseloads were too high, the report found.

The authority said in March it was making an immediate multimillion-pound investment and had appointed a new management team.

At the time council leader Ann James, a City Independent, said the authority was "very concerned by the findings" and she would like to reassure families it had "listened closely" to inspectors' comments.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We have appointed Eleanor Brazil as the commissioner for Stoke-on-Trent and its improvement plan is being taken forward as a matter of urgency."

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