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Herefordshire Council's children's services 'requires improvement'


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Services to protect children in Herefordshire "require improvement", Ofsted inspectors have concluded.


The grading is one better than in 2012 when services were branded "inadequate", the lowest rating in the four-point scale.


It means there are no serious failures but the authority is not delivering good protection, help and care for children, young people and families.


The council said it was on target to achieve a "good" rating by 2016.


Councillor Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for children's wellbeing for Herefordshire Council, said: "We are very pleased that following our recent inspection we are no longer rated as inadequate and reassured that Ofsted are stating that no children being cared for in Herefordshire are at risk of harm."


Ofsted said the leadership and experience of care leaders "requires improvement" but rated the authority's adoption performance as "good".


The grading follows an inspection last month.




The latest Ofsted report was published today and is available to read in pdf format here (37 pages) 


Ofsted Herefordshire

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Thanks for posting this up Roger, Hereford Times appear to be ignoring it at present.


Perhaps they feel dates for the WI meetings, and Ellie Gouldings performance at Glastonbury are of higher importance.......


I still have concerns about the amount of interim / temporary managers that are in place.


I thought there was to be a focus on retaining permanent staff, both for front line and key managerial roles.


Whilst I am pleased that the picture appears to have improved - let's face it, you can't get much worse than inadequate in every area - there is still much to be done.

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I emailed the HT 4 hours ago re this story - no reply - they are probably keeping it for an exclusive story on Thursday .

Thought that a new Editor would be more switched on with the latest local news / stories .


The BBC H and W story is damming to this Council.

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A real worry, is that thresholds to access many services have been raised. Here, again, we see that many young people referred to CAMHS, are not meeting the "requirements" for help.


Where' s the early intervention here?


Also of interest, is that in order to reduce social workers caseloads, (an issue hghlighted by the previous 2012 OFSTED) an external company was bought in to shift the back log....in March 2014.


Just weeks before OFSTED visited.


Some may view this through more cynical eyes than others.

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Thanks for posting this up Roger, Hereford Times appear to be ignoring it at present.


I've no doubt Bill Tanner will be all over this report for the Thursday printed paper. Not quite quick enough probably in this age of instant news ... 

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This is really important!


Even one of their infamous one line reports would have at least acknowledged that it's published today.


Every person in the county should have an interest in this report.


Thanks again, Roger, for the swift posting on here!

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Well.....the Hereford Times is out today.


Is this front page news?


Don't be daft. Front page news is the couple who won a mock Game of Thrones wedding.


Still nothing on line.


So really not news worthy then?


Is it in the printed paper anywhere? I haven't bought a copy. I did see the front page splash in the shop tho. About roadworks ... 

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Apparently it's on page 5.


There was two lines pointing to the stories existence, on the front page.....


Very poor.


Dont get me wrong ... I love football ... And the HT is publicising the issues (quite rightly) ... but this seems to be the only issue they want to push ... Other proper news seems sidelined ... 

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Child protection in the county is "back from the brink"


9:34am Friday 4th July 2014 in NewsBy Bill Tanner





CHILD protection in the county is back from the brink two years after being
branded “inadequate†by Ofsted.


This week Ofsted said Herefordshire Council’s safeguarding service still needs improvement – but there are now no widespread or serious failures that put children at risk.


Another “inadequate†verdict could have seen Whitehall directly intervening in the running of the service.


The Ofsted report reveals that agency social workers were brought in ahead of the latest inspection to cut a case work backlog, with child neglect a major factor in many of the cases examined.


Though the “inadequate†rating the service has been working under since 2012 is gone, the report says safeguarding is not yet delivering “good†protection and help.


As such, Ofsted says all areas – with the exception of adoption – still require improvement, with progress acknowledged as “slow†and “very recent.â€


Too many of the areas for development identified in 2012 continue to require improvement, the report says.


Both the council and Ofsted recognise that the service still has some way to
go to get a “good†rating by 2016.


Jo Davidson, director of children’s wellbeing, said the identified improvements were a “strong staging post†towards that target.


Councillor Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for children’s wellbeing, said he
was “reassured†that no children being cared for in the county are at risk of


As of March, 237 childrenand young people were subject to protection plans in the county, this is up from 208 in March 2013.


Another 1,269 children were identified as needing a specialist children’s service– down from 1,444 the previous year.


A further 242 children are in the council’s care, up from 216 this time last year.


Ofsted reported neglect as a major factor in most cases examined by its inspectors and, though identification of neglect was getting better, in some cases oversight was poor and approaches too focused on the needs of


Individual social worker case loads have come down from an average of more than 30 last October to around 18, with help hired from an outside agency.


Recruitment and retention of social workers, however, remains a key risk, and, while management and supervisory functions were “improving slowly†they were still “too variable.â€


The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub – which puts child protection professionals in a single contact referral and assessment centreis proving “increasingly effective†after an overhaul.


But children were still seeing too many changes of social worker and dataand information management was not yet accurate enough.


The Herefordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) is said to be workingbetter than in 2012 to ensure services are co-ordinated.


Board chairman Dave McCallum said many of the improvements are too recent to have made significant differences.


“There is still further work to do to ensure that the board’s policies and procedures are up to date and that it is getting accurate and relevant performance information from partner organisations.


“The board also needs to ensure that the work is manageable and prioritised in its ambitious programme of improvements.â€


Hereford Times


It seems that the service seemed to scrape up to one level above inadequate by bringing in temporary staff to paper over the cracks. 


There is also apparently 'some way to go' to obtain a 'good' rating. Which incidentally is a rating that they had in 2010.

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  • 1 month later...

BBC Midlands Today has reported on a serious child neglect situation in Gloucestershire.  It seems that this situation continued for many years up until 2012 and the children suffered enormous neglect.


Reported here in the Gloucestershire Echo.




And a quote:



Kathy O’Mahony, operations director of the council’s safeguarding and care, said: “Quite clearly what these children experienced was unacceptable and we are sorry. What the children experienced was unacceptable and went on for far too long.

“We did take protective action. We did intervene and have taken the children off the parents and they are thriving. But it should have happened earlier.â€

The review into the treatment of Abigail, Bobbie, Charlie and Daisy (not their real names) between August 2010 and November 2012 shows the extent the children were let down – not only by their parents but by those who saw their problems.

But it also reveals older siblings were subjected to similar neglect before the father of some of the children - who was jailed - joined the family unit in 2007.

Read more at http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Social-services-review-carried-shocking-case/story-22783214-detail/story.html#b9sGfGJX1hG7hXdt.99


Kathy O'Mahoney will be a familiar name in Herefordshire as she was assistant director during the decline of child protection here (having previously been in Gloucester working on `Child Protection Investigations' during some of the time concerned in this story and also the Eunice Spry situation).  Her director, again first in Gloucester and then in Herefordshire was our own Jo Davidson. How many times can these people apologise, say lessons will be learned and yet continue on their merry way?  

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Yeah, I saw the 'piece' on the news. Why can they stumble from one disaster to another and still continue to flourish and worse, bloody multiply off of our hard work?

In any other walk of life they'd say, 'you are bloody useless. You are unable to do the job you were tasked to complete. Be gone'. Instead, nothing! Nothing bloody happens. It's as though it never ever happened. It becomes no more than a rumour. Nothing changes. They simply march on living off their remarkable CV, their contacts and the ability to sound ever so bright hiding the fact that they're as thick as f.uck. And they are thick. Make no mistake, these are thick and dull people who've no business ever being placed in positions of power. And yet they continue to remain in positions that they are totally unsuited for.

Every single one of us has their own personal level of incompetence. No matter who, we all must reach a point when we admit to ourselves, 'I am out of my depth. I've reached my level of incompetence'. There ain't nobody out there who hasn't got their own personal level of incompetence and these people, that we are speaking of now, reached their level of personal incompetence many years before they were ever installed as leaders within our public services.

Frightened? You bloody should be. I am! To think that they are amongst us and doing very well thank you very much. It makes you want to spit!

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I can't say too much on here but from the news report (from memory) there were high levels of contact (was it 137 or something ludicrously high) that ended up not being joined up as being an issue? 


There is obviously a bigger picture and we could talk all day about that unfortunately ... 

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Eunice Spry is pure evil. There is no other word for the atrocities she inflicted on those children.


I cannot fathom how this woman could ever even be considered for release - and yet she was due for release last month, serving barely half of her sentence.


She has apparently applied to live in Worcestershire. In my opinion, she should not be allowed to live anywhere near to where her victims are still trying to rebuild their lives.


Yet it seems her right to choose where she would like to live, trumps their rights to never, ever have to run the risk of seeing this woman again.

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