Suffolk social services ‘performs poorly’

CHILDREN’S social services in Suffolk have been told to pull their socks up after a snap inspection by Ofsted.

The official inspection team has said the authority “Performs Poorly” because of problems it identified with one of five teams it looked at during an unannounced visit.

It found that practices in the south of the county were very good and helping to improve the lives of children in its care – but in one other part of the county there were problems.

This resulted from one manager having responsibility for 35 cases. In this case eight involved children with child protection plans – and all were being handled by staff who were unqualified or who were not yet registered as social workers.

The report found that two children had been left at potential risk and in one of these cases there was no evidence of social work visits over several months.

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County councillor with responsibility for children Graham Newman said the management structures that had been introduced in the south of the county with such success were being rolled out across the rest of Suffolk.

And there was still a problem with recruiting and retaining qualified and experienced social workers.

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Head of safeguarding at the council Cliff James said the two cases identified had not resulted in any harm to children.

The families had been visited, although there had been problems with keeping up-to-date records.

He said: “We are addressing the issues in the report, but we are satisfied no children have been put in any danger.”

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