John Richards came on the radio this morning to explain why OFSTED gave Peterborough City Council a “poor” rating for its Childrens Services.
Here are the extracts from the OFSTED report that relate to the failings:
Children’s services in Peterborough City Council perform poorly. The decline in
performance since the 2009 assessment reflects an inadequate inspection judgment
of local arrangements for safeguarding children and young people.
A recent full inspection of safeguarding arrangements reported that not all provision
was good enough and as a result some children and young people were left at
Inspection by Ofsted identified potential risks to some vulnerable children caused by
delays in assessments, a shortage of social workers and inconsistency in the way
records are kept.
John Richards rightly commented that much of the work being done is successful, but that the final assessment is due to problems with their “front door”.
Ultimately what this is likely to mean is that the Verto software system let them down.
This is the new software system designed and implemented by transformation consultants currently the subject of a Council Scrutiny Committe Inquiry due to report finally in January.
There have been reports that many inquiries for assessement were forgotten.
There have been reports that the software system in place is effectively so slow as to be unusable.
I think we are entitled to some answers on this. Spending £12 million a year to place vulnerable children at risk does not seem to be an effective use of council tax payers money, if that is what is happening.
If this is true, as it appears to be, why are we not being told this in black and white? If it is not true, let’s hear about it.
It cannot be acceptable that individuals wanting to preserve their own professional reputations take precedence over the safety of children. That cannot be acceptable.