Manchester

Salford children's protection service 'inadequate'

Children's safeguarding services in Salford have been criticised as "inadequate" by Ofsted.

A report said that Salford Council's child protection teams were "leaving some children and young people at potential risk".

Criticisms of the service, which monitors at-risk children, included the authority's appointment of two staff prior to criminal record checks.

Council leaders have pledged to improve children's services within six months.

The report carried out over a two-week period in May stated that "some child protection concerns are not being properly identified as such or responded to in an appropriate or timely manner leaving some children and young people at potential risk."

It also found that there was no named doctor for safeguarding in Salford Community Health.

Services for looked-after children were described as "adequate" and as only meeting the minimum required standard.

Council leader John Merry said he had asked Ofsted to return in six months to "ascertain what progress we have made".

He said: "I am not going to pretend the report is not critical and I am deeply concerned about the problems it outlines.

"We could and should be doing better in some absolutely key areas.

"We now have a new leadership team in place which is driving through the necessary improvements."

During the inspection, Ofsted rated 33 different areas and found four were "good", 21 were "adequate" but eight were "inadequate", mostly in the safeguarding service.

Mr Merry added: "We have demonstrated that we will do what is necessary to do the best we can for the city's most vulnerable children and we will continue to do so.

"There have been major management changes in the directorate and while I accept this may have caused some uncertainty for staff, the changes have been necessary.

"We need to move forward with our new team, which has an absolute clear view of what needs to be done next to turn performance around.

"I have asked for this follow-up inspection so that our progress can be independently verified.

"It won't be a case of me having to reassure people that we are doing better, there will be an independent verdict which will be made available to the public."

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