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Ofsted highlights 'slow progress' in county's improvement

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Gloucestershire CC is making “slow progress” in improving its children’s social care services, Ofsted has found.

report published on Friday said the council’s senior leadership has a “clear vision and coherent improvement plan” to develop services which is being implemented successfully. This follows the regulator’s sixth monitoring visit since Gloucestershire was rated ‘inadequate’ in March 2017.

Ofsted adds that despite early indicators of improvement in some areas of practice, there is “considerable variability” across teams, with delays in decision-making for too many children who are the subject of immediate safeguarding concerns.

Senior leaders now have better oversight over the service and “a clear and accurate picture of the service’s strengths and weaknesses”, the report said.

Staff morale is said to be good and social workers are positive about the support they receive.

An inspection report published in 2017 said senior leaders had not sufficiently prioritised or improved the quality of services since a previous inadequate rating in 2011, leading to a significant deterioration.

As a result, Ofsted said there were “serious and widespread failures for children in need of help and protection”.

Responding to the findings of the monitoring visit, Gloucestershire’s cabinet member for children and young people Richard Boyles (Con) said: “We need to keep up the recruitment drive for permanent social workers, and work closely with teams to make sure good practice is common across all areas.

“This is fundamental to ensure we offer consistent help and support and improve the outcomes for children and young people who need our help the most.”

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