Report to be published today to criticise Doncaster’s children services


GOVERNMENT inspectors have once again said that Doncaster Council’s children services are “inadequate” and failing to keep children from harm.

In a report due to be made public at 10am today, inspectors are expected to severely criticise the troubled department for “too much poor work” with children and families.

The Free Press exclusively revealed yesterday that there were fresh concerns over poor professional practice and increased workloads, which echoed the horrors of the shocking revelations about “deep-rooted” issues at the department in 2009 which led to Government intervention.

Doncaster Council has admitted that they need to do better to improve their services and they have not coped as well as they had anticipated.

One key observation from the Ofsted inspection, which was carried out in October, included a significant increase in the volume of children and young people needing support over the past 12 months that has severely impacted on capacity with front line services.

A separate report by Lord Carlile, which concerns the attacks on two children in Edlington in 2009, is also due to be published at 10am by the Department of Education.

Commenting ahead of the publication of these reports, Doncaster Council’s director of Children and Young People’s Service, Chris Pratt, said: “It is clear that we have not yet fully recovered the systematically broken services that we previously had, and as Ofsted says, features of that systematic failure remain today.

“The reports do acknowledge progress has been made - and Lord Carlile’s reporting states Doncaster is not faced with the shambolic situation of early 2009 - but I’m acutely aware our progress hasn’t yet come far enough. As a result of better child protection work we are now actually working with an overwhelming number of children – including three times as many more child protection investigations compared to two years ago. Together with huge difficulties in attracting experienced social work professionals to work in Doncaster, this has put tremendous pressure on our services and meant our journey of recovery hasn’t coped as well as we had planned.

“However, these are not excuses and we can and must do better to improve services. We are using these reports as a major opportunity to up our game and are determined to rejuvenate our improvement plan to speedily put in place the changes that will provide maximum protection for all our children and young people.”