Review of Gloucestershire's children's 'widespread failures' agreed

Gloucestershire County Council, Shire Hall Image copyright Google
Image caption Ofsted said standards had "deteriorated significantly" since the department was last rated inadequate in 2011

An independent review of children's services in Gloucestershire will be carried out after "serious and widespread failures" were found.

Education watchdog Ofsted said children were being left in situations of "risk of significant harm for too long" because dangers were not recognised.

Inspectors rated the department as inadequate and said standards had "deteriorated significantly".

In a meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to a review into the failings.

The review will be carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The Ofsted report said it had "serious concerns" about the senior leadership team.

Gloucestershire County Council said the LGA review would seek to "understand the cultural issues" and "inadequacies in management oversight" to ensure that similar problems do not arise again.

'Whistleblowing concerns'

The authority also called for cross-party representation on the newly-established improvement board to review progress and "ensure maximum scrutiny".

Ofsted said a "lack of management oversight" was leaving children in "situations of risk" and its findings - along with an "unprecedented number of whistleblowing concerns" - showed that management was "failing to protect children and families".

Inspectors also found that:

  • Only 60% of children were risk assessed within an "appropriate timescale"
  • Current systems and processes were "ineffective"
  • An "unprecedented number" of staff had raised concerns about a "culture of bullying and blame".

In a statement, the authority said chief executive Pete Bungard will carry out an evaluation of the council's corporate culture in preparation for the LGA review.

This will include an audit of support services for whistle-blowers and staff who want to raise concerns.

Council leaders will also review the staff appraisal process and carry out a staff survey.

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