Council running child care at bare minimum

An inspection into how children in care are looked after in Hertfordshire has found that most of the service is running at a minimum level.

The report by independent inspectors into how the county council looks after its 1164 children in care, released this week, said that while the authority has done much to improve its services since the last inspection three years ago, more needs to be done in every area.

Out of 37 categories assessed, 12 were classed ‘good’, but 25 were deemed ‘adequate’, only meeting the minimum level of care set by Ofsted.

The inspectors recommended a programme of action ranging from immediate improvements, to those carried out over three to six months.

Implementing these however will be difficult in the face of public sector budget cuts.

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The chairman of Herts safeguarding children board, Phil Picton, said: “I am really pleased that they’ve recognised the improvement that’s been made. Clearly there are still things that we need to do, and this will be hard with tighter budgets, but the report gives good suggestions about where to focus extra efforts and how to take things forward.”

John Harris, director of children’s services at the council said: “The safety of children across the county is paramount and the Ofsted reprt provides welcome confirmation of the good progress we have made over the last three years.

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“We are not complacent however and we will be taking forward a robust action plan to respond to the areas for further improvement.”


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