Children’s and adult’s safeguarding merger scrappedIvy Madziva
The decision has been made in light of Ofsted’s recent findings of children’s services
ST Helens Council has made a U-turn on a decision to merge its children’s and adult safeguarding units in light of Ofsted’s recent findings.
Following a focused visit in July, Ofsted said “entrenched cultural, management and social work practices are negatively impacting on children’s outcomes”.
It also said a number of areas of poor practice indicate a “systemic failure to address weaknesses” that have “exposed children to significant risk of harm and to safeguard and promote their welfare”.
Prior to the findings, a decision had been taken to merge the council’s children’s and adult’s safeguarding units.
But in light of Ofsted’s findings, this decision has now been reversed.
A council notice says it is recommended that “dedicated focus” is now required to improve the safeguarding arrangements for children.
“In order to have sufficient capacity dedicated to children’s and adult’s safeguarding it is recommended that the management of children’s and adult safeguarding should be separate,” the delegated decision notice says.
“Indeed, both children’s and adult’s safeguarding are statutory functions of the council and there needs to be sufficient resource to ensure all statutory duties for children and adults in the borough of St Helens are fulfilled.
“These duties differ across adults and children’s services.
“In addition, there will be sufficient capacity for the children’s and adults safeguarding boards to be effectively supported to deliver the improvements required.”
The council says the decision seeks to ensure that there is sufficient capacity and focus on the necessary improvements required to children’s safeguarding arrangements.
It also seeks to ensure statutory requirements continue to be met in adult’s safeguarding, and that both children’s and adult’s statutory safeguarding arrangements are “robust.
The decision comes shortly after council chiefs agreed to transfer £6 million from its reserves to help demand pressures and to support the ongoing actions arising from the Ofsted inspection visit.
Cabinet also agreed to transfer £2 million for the financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20, to support the looked-after children budget.
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