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Commissioner to review county's children's services

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A government commissioner has been appointed to review children’s social care in Buckinghamshire CC after the council was rated inadequate for the second time in four years.

The unnamed commissioner will begin a review of services later this month and advise the Department for Education on how services can be improved.

A report published last month said the strategic response to an inadequate rating in 2014 has been “piecemeal”, causing progress on improvement to be “inconsistent and too slow”.

Today a DfE spokesperson said: “We are appointing a commissioner to inform our decision about next steps on how best to secure rapid and sustainable improvement so that children and families in Buckinghamshire have access to high quality services.

“The commissioner will make a recommendation as to next steps which will be considered by the department.”

The Ofsted report said there were “serious shortfalls” in parts of the service despite improvement being identified as a key political priority and continued investment.

The report says a high turnover of social workers, large caseloads and poor recording have contributed to some children being left at risk and in unsuitable circumstances for too long.

Inspectors also identified a failure to recognise and respond quick enough to increasing risk, as well as an over-reliance on parents’ updates on progress.

The report highlighted improvements in some service areas, with children who need an urgent response receiving a “prompt and appropriate” service.

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