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Poor Child Protection

Child Protection Services Judged Inadequate


Ofsted, the  national body responsible for quality assurance in services for children, recently carried out an unannounced inspection of Cheshire East Council’s arrangements for the protection of children, and found that overall the service provided by the Council is inadequate.


Among the areas assessed, Quality of practice was judged as “inadequate”, the worst category. Effectiveness of the help and protection provided to children, young people, families and carers and Leadership and governance were both judged as “adequate”, the second worst category. No areas of provision were judged as “good” or “outstanding”.


The report stated:  “Children, young people and their families experience poor recognition of risk, delays and inconsistent management decision-making. This increases children and young people’s potential risk of harm. Planning for children and young people in need is also inadequate.”


 Performance management was also criticised:  “Performance management is inconsistent due to a lack of timely impact in effectively tackling known areas of poor practice within contact and referral arrangements and child-in-need planning. In particular, arrangements to audit and monitor decision-making at the point of referral did not identify the scale of the inconsistencies in practice and management.”


The Ofsted summary of findings reported that “Children, young people and their families are not always asked about their views or opinions.” This strikes at the heart of what good childcare is about. The views of children and young people should be listened to and taken into account. It appears that the council’s attempt to provide good childcare has fallen at the first hurdle.

David Newton, Leader of the Labour Group, said: "The council should be aiming to provide better than ‘adequate’ arrangements for the protection of children. To achieve good or outstanding service, the Council needs to improve some of the training and ensure there are adequate resources, which in this period of austerity is incredibly important for vulnerable children."

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