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Herefordshire Council receives Improvement Notice

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DfE issues non-statutory Improvement Notice following recent High Court judgment


Herefordshire Council has today (Tuesday 18 May 2021) received a non-statutory Improvement Notice from the Department for Education (DfE).

The notice follows significant concerns raised in a recent High Court judgement which led to an urgent and thorough external review of Herefordshire Children’s Social Care Services.

The Improvement Notice includes the appointment of Gladys Rhodes White OBE as an Improvement Adviser for a minimum of 12 months, and until such time that the Secretary of State is satisfied that she is no longer required. Mrs Rhodes White will provide advice to Children’s Social Care Services and Herefordshire Council, and she will chair the Improvement Board which is being established from the beginning of June 2021.

Paul Walker, newly appointed Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council said:



“We welcome the appointment of Gladys Rhodes White OBE as Improvement Adviser following the Department for Education Improvement Notice. Mrs Rhodes White is an outstanding leader with substantial expertise and skills in transforming and improving services and outcomes for children and families. I will work closely with Gladys and Cath Knowles, our Interim Director of Children’s Services, to address the serious issues identified by the High Court judgement and Department for Education Improvement Notice and to deliver a sustainable and improved children’s services department.

“We take full accountability for the failings of our Children’s Social Care Services and we will make much-needed changes to our culture and practices. Our Interim Director of Children’s Services continues to lead the improvements to our Children’s Social Care Services. Our social workers continue to do their best, often in very difficult circumstances, to support families and protect vulnerable children in our community. Under the new leadership, we will strive to ensure we offer Herefordshire children, and their families, the highest level of care and support possible.” 


A review of Children’s Social Care services is underway to understand and address any failings and immediate actions are being taken to deal with any serious concerns. Herefordshire Council continues to offer residents the opportunity to report a concern following their experience with its Children’s Social Care services. A dedicated team, led by the Interim Director of Children’s Services, are working through these concerns and while we seek to understand the full extent of past decisions made within Children’s Services, we regret that we may find further instances that do not meet the required standards. If you have any concerns about the way you or your family have been treated by Herefordshire Children’s Social Care services, you can contact us at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/careconcerns  or email careconcerns@herefordshire.gov.uk


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