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County Council Announces Steps to Improve Following OFSTED Report

Lancashire County Council has announced a series of measures to address concerns raised during a recent inspection of children's services.

Ofsted has today published a report rating a range of services for children and young people as 'inadequate', following an inspection that took place in September and October.

Six weeks since being informed of the inspectors' initial findings, the council has begun implementing a number of changes backed by a new £5m investment.

The measures, which include recruiting new social work and support staff, are designed to address concerns raised by inspectors including a lack of consistency in the quality of care and support. They will also tackle problems with data and performance management, which inspectors found made it difficult to effectively monitor the quality of services.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "The children and young people who need these services deserve the best care and support, and we are very sorry that in some cases they have clearly not been receiving it. The council must now act quickly and effectively to resolve the problems identified during the inspection.

"Since the inspectors told us their initial findings, a lot of work has been done to set out and begin implementing a plan that will address all of their concerns.

"To support this work, the Cabinet has approved a £5m investment in children's services which will allow us to recruit more frontline staff and provide extra training opportunities.

"The inspectors did identify a number of strengths in the council's work. For example, they were positive about the way children and young people are listened to, and the way in which we are tackling child sexual exploitation.

"However, we need standards to be consistently high across all of these vital services and I am determined to make sure that happens."

The £5m investment represents an increase of around 5%, in the council's overall budget for children's services. More staff will be recruited to help cope with the high demand on social care services and a range of extra training and support programmes will be delivered.

Jo Turton, chief executive, said: "We must put the necessary improvements in place promptly and sustainably. It is our highest priority to ensure standards are consistently met across these services and our improvement plan will pick up every area the inspectors said required improvement.

"The report should not detract from the fact we have hundreds of staff working hard under often difficult circumstances, trying to do their very best for the thousands of vulnerable children and young people in Lancashire. Indeed, the commitment of councillors and staff at all levels was recognised by the inspectors.

"Our plans focus on increasing support to those staff, including through IT and training, so that they are able to dedicate more of their time to looking after the children and young people they are there to help."

A Post Inspection Improvement Board with an independent chairperson will oversee the council's work to deliver improvements in response to the report.

The report is available at: Ofsted report

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