Nottingham

Nottinghamshire council children's services 'improved'

Nottinghamshire's children's services have won an improved rating from Ofsted inspectors but changes still need to be made, according to a new report.

A critical inspection in 2010 revealed failings which Ofsted said left some of the most vulnerable children at risk.

The service was deemed inadequate after the death of eight-year-old Charlotte Avenall, who was found hanged in Mansfield in September 2009.

The government-run inspection service made an unannounced visit in February.

'Solid progress'

A report after the February visit rated the council as "worse than comparable authorities" at assessing children's situations but said it was improving.

Councillor Philip Owen said: "Initial significant investment in this crucial service is beginning to bear fruit.

"We are moving in the right direction and making solid progress, but there is still more to be done."

The report said the county had "taken swift action" to deal with reported problems and committed additional resources to front-line services.

"Progress has been rapid and child protection services have been strengthened."

The report added that: "The backlog of unallocated work has been tackled and, although some social worker caseloads remain high, this situation is being monitored rigorously and has improved over time."

The earlier report said social workers responsible for the safety of Charlotte Avenall were under-trained and overworked.

Her parents Susan Moody, 24, and her husband Simon, 32, were each sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to child neglect.

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