The findings of the recent re-inspection by Ofsted of Torbay’s children’s social care services have been published today.
The inspection was undertaken between 11 June and 5 July 2018 and focussed on reviewing direct work with children in need of help and protection, children looked after, adoption performance, and the experiences and progress of care leavers.
Inspectors concluded that overall, Torbay’s children’s services remain ‘inadequate’, but also recognised key areas of improvement .
Torbay Council has been judged inadequate since 2016 and, as a result, has been under the direction of the Secretary of State and a commissioner from Hampshire County Council appointed by the Department for Education.
Alison Botham said: ‘We are disappointed with the judgement of this Ofsted inspection, but we acknowledge the issues identified that have impacted on the pace and consistency of improvements and outcomes for children. We are already implementing recommendations requiring immediate action, in order to address the significant weaknesses identified in key areas.
‘I am pleased to see that the inspectors have recognised and highlighted areas of good work… As the new Director of Children’s Services I have a high expectation that we will keep children and young people at the heart of all our work, and that we will provide the right environment for all staff to deliver their best practice. The inspection was rightly challenging, thorough and rigorous. In addition to making clear recommendations for further action, the report also recognises improvements that have been made to date.’
Department for Education Commissioner, John Coughlan, said: ‘This latest inspection judgement from Ofsted is obviously disappointing. I know that staff and managers have worked very hard over the past two years and it is regrettable that sufficient progress has not yet been made on behalf of vulnerable children in Torbay. Personally, I am convinced by the evidence that recent progress has been made in both management and practice and I am sure that children in Torbay are safer now than they were two years ago.’
There are a number of key actions Torbay Council will now be focusing on, including timely practice to assess need, plan and respond effectively when protective action is required, visiting children and young people within required timescales, and reviewing all in-house foster carers, undertaking health assessments, and providing the necessary training and support.
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