Norfolk

Sixteen Norfolk children's services workers dismissed or asked to leave

County Hall, home of Norfolk County Council, Norwich
Image caption Interim director Sheila Lock told the BBC there was something "fundamentally wrong" with the department

Sixteen children's services workers have been either dismissed or asked to leave Norfolk County Council in the past two years, the BBC can reveal.

The council's children's services has been criticised by foster parents over claims it wrongly removed children and was rated as inadequate by Ofsted.

Interim director Sheila Lock, who took over in August 2013, told the BBC there was something "fundamentally wrong" with the department.

An independent review is under way.

It is led by Ian Parker, a former Middlesbrough Council chief executive.

The 16 who left include nine agency social workers who have been asked to leave by the council in the last two years, plus seven who were dismissed.

The seven dismissals were among a group of 19 people who were initially suspended. Of those, six were disciplined, five faced no further action and one case is still being investigated.

Children's services

£140m

total revenue budget for 2014-15

  • 1,000 children are in the care of Norfolk County Council

  • 675 frontline care staff are employed by the authority

  • 16 employees have been asked to leave in the last two years

THINKSTOCK

The council, which employs about 675 frontline care staff and has about 1,000 children in care, has been under fire over its treatment of foster carers.

Earlier in the month, the council announced an independent review into claims some children were wrongly removed.

Ms Lock told the BBC: "We didn't get into this place without things being fundamentally wrong. Some of that is leadership and discipline.

"Over the last 18 months we have really had to drill down to people that they have individual responsibility and service accountability to get it right."

Ms Lock said she was keen not to get into a "culture of blame" and then find you "can't recruit people".

James Joyce, chairman of children's services committee, said: "Sheila and I are determined to leave no stone unturned as we move the department forward."

Ms Lock took over from the former director of children's services Lisa Christensen, who stepped down in June 2013 after a damning Ofsted report and calls from MPs for a change of leadership at the department.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites