Leeds services for children poor but improving

Children's services in Leeds have again been rated poor by inspectors.

But council bosses insist improvements are being made and point out that "poor" was the highest rating that Leeds could achieve as no unannounced or safeguarding inspections had been carried out by Ofsted since November last year.

Following last year's highly critical report, an independently-chaired Improvement Board was established to oversee improvements in the protection of children. It meets monthly and reports directly to ministers.

While acknowledging the effectiveness of the majority of children's services, Ofted's latest report highlights areas for further development.

To address those areas the council has recruited more social workers, improved child protection training, appointed a new director, improved its electronic recording system and reduced the proportion of youngsters not in education, employment or training from 9.5 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

Coun Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children's services, said: "Since the last inspection, we have implemented a full-scale review of children's services across the city to address all of the concerns raised last year. So it is very disappointing that the fantastic work that our staff and managers have done over the past year could not be taken into account.

"Many services have had very positive inspections over the past year, so it is very possible that, had the two key inspections taken place, we may have be awarded a very different result."

Nigel Richardson, director of children's services said: "Our staff have worked extremely hard over the past year to implement improvements. We can still do more to build on this."

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