Tameside MBC’s failure to ensure there was sufficient social worker capacity to meet rising demand left children at risk of harm, Ofsted has found.
A report published today says the council’s failure to act was the “primary contributory factor” to the serious and widespread poor practice identified by inspectors during a visit in October.
They found social workers were not suitably experienced and highlighted high levels of staff turnover that resulted in a lack of appropriate intervention to protect and support children.
Ofsted said senior leaders’ attempts to address the problems had been ineffective due to poor “analysis of need”.
There had also been a failure to maintain adequate arrangements for the oversight of domestic abuse reports which led to long delays before a large number of children were assessed by a suitably qualified social worker.
The report said the poor application of thresholds meant allegations of abuse were not investigated in accordance with statutory guidance and children at risk of sexual exploitation received services without appropriate assessments of need.
It added: “Social workers try very hard to help children, but they are given too many children to support to do the job well.
“This means that children do not always receive the right help as quickly as they should, and sometimes their problems grow more serious before they receive the services that they need.”
The report said the overall inadequate rating represented a deterioration in the quality of services since the last inspection in 2012.
Tameside has been contacted for comment.