Children's care in Gloucestershire 'inadequate'

The way Gloucestershire looks after vulnerable children and young people has been described as "inadequate".

A report by Ofsted inspectors found children in the county have been exposed to "unnecessary risk".

Inspectors carried out more than 100 interviews and met 44 children in November and December.

The county council said it had invested heavily in children's services over the last 18 months and recognised more needed to be done.

Inspectors acknowledged that action taken by the authority was starting to show signs of having a positive impact.

One of the two reports from Ofsted rated children's services overall as performing well.

'Positive impact'

But a report into Gloucestershire's Safeguarding and Looked After Children Services, published on Monday, rated six out of 22 categories as "inadequate", including effectiveness, managing performance, provision of services and whether children and young people feel safe.

It said the previous director of children's services raised concerns two years ago, and that instability in management positions had delayed action on a plan to improve.

Councillor Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said the authority had already said protecting vulnerable people was an absolute priority.

"We know we have more work to do in improving our services in this area and we're investing more in targeted activities to support this.

"We've already taken on an extra 30 social workers in the last year and that's crucial with so many more cases being referred since the death of Baby Peter in north London.

"We are already working more closely with health and the police in local areas to ensure that we concentrate our resources on those children at most risk of serious harm.

"Ofsted recognise that we are improving and the report gives examples of where a positive impact can already be seen," he said.

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