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Surrey County Council criticised for failing to address "critical weaknesses" in Children's Services

November 30, 2017 1:55 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Chris BottenCommenting on the letter published by OFSTED today, Councillor Chris Botten, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children & Families, said:

"These are very serious criticisms of Surrey County Council, 3 years after the County Council's Children's Services were inspected by OFSTED and subsequently rated as "inadequate". There is a long list of failings that have been identified: the poor quality of social work, weaknesses in managerial oversight, children not receiving the right help at the right time and, in some cases, children being at risk of harm.

"It is clear that the pace of improvement within Surrey has been too slow and that in some cases basic social work practice is not being followed. What is needed now is a step change in the drive to improve these services, much better communication and lines of accountability between management and the front line and a real sense of leadership from the County Council that it has the will, drive and expertise to turn these services around for the benefit of children in Surrey.

"Senior management should resist the temptation to blame the front line and their immediate superiors as in reality it is the failure of leadership over the years that has left front line staff without the right guidance and with case loads too large for them to manage well. Senior managers must listen to the social workers as well as the children. Doing more of the same won't put things right; imagination and innovation are urgently needed. No social worker goes to work to do a bad job - they and the children of Surrey are being let down".

OFSTED's letter can be found here:

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/local_authority_reports/surrey/059_Monitoring%20visit%20of%20LA%20children%27s%20services%20as%20pdf.pdf