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Essex to review Blackpool's children's services

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Essex CC will oversee a review into whether Blackpool Council should lose control of children’s social care services delivery.  

An Ofsted inspection in November last year found services to be inadequate overall, with “longstanding and widespread failures” in social work “leaving some children living in situations of chronic neglect for long periods of time”.

In a government direction issued on Monday, education secretary Damian Hinds appointed Essex and its executive director for children, families and education Helen Lincoln as commissioners.

The direction requires Blackpool to “comply with any instructions of the secretary of state or the children’s services commissioner in relation to the improvement of the council’s exercise of its children’s social care functions.”

Over a 12-week period the review will examine how sustained improvement to children’s services can be acheived, including the option “to remove operational control of children’s social care services from the council for a period of time”.

The commissioner is due to report back to Mr Hinds on 28 June.

Blackpool chief executive Neil Jack said: “We look forward to working closely with Helen and her team to show the progress that we have already made since the Ofsted inspection, sharing with them the action plan submitted to Ofsted and demonstrating our capacity to improve.”

This story was updated to clarify Essex’s involvement in Blackpool is for an initial 12-week review period 

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