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Calls For Impartial Review Into East Riding Children's Services

Calls For Impartial Review Into East Riding Children's Services

Published by Karen Liu at 6:56am 28th July 2020. (Updated at 7:05am 28th July 2020)

We need an impartial review into children's services operated by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

That is from the Liberal Democrat group on the council, after the authority were described as 'inadequate' by an Ofsted report at the end of last year.

That remained the same despite the council asking Ofsted to reconsider its assessment.

David Nolan, Leader of the Lib Dems at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said:

"They've been let down by the way the council has managed its children's services.

That's not necessarily about staff, because we know they're overworked, but it's the failure of the senior management and the councillors who hold the portfolio and scrutiny chairs for those children's services.

We want to see an independent review, chaired by someone not from the ruling group who can perhaps see what's gone on and come up with recommendations.

I'm aware that there's an action plan being put together but what we want is somebody to go in and have a look at it."

Cllr Nolan has been speaking to Yorkshire Coast Radio's Jon Burke:

The Lib Dems will be pressing for an "urgent inspection" tomorrow (Wednesday 29th July) at East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Full Council meeting.

In seconding the motion, the party's Deputy, Cllr Denis Healy, said: 

"The review must be carried out independently of those Councillors whose failings may have put our East Riding children at risk.

We are talking about services to the most "at risk children" in our community and we owe it to them to correct the inadequate service.

We believe the Review should be chaired by a non-Conservative in the interests of objectivity. We have said that the review should be at "no cost" to the taxpayer, which means that it should be chaired without the Chairman getting an additional £10k in allowances. 

The Conservatives are costing our taxpayers over £300,000 a year in extra allowances and it is time that gravy train was stopped."

Eoin Rush, director of children, families and schools at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said:

"The call for an independently-chaired review by the Liberal Democrats relates to the outcome of last year's inspection.   

Immediately following the short inspection last year, which found some areas of service to be inadequate but also some areas of considerable strength, the council took rapid and robust action to address the concerns identified. At that time, the council also decided to use the experience of the short inspection to implement a more fundamental programme of service improvement and development. 

This work has continued apace and is supported by an advisor from the Department for Education and overseen by a local Improvement Board. The board has an independent chair and includes the leader of the council, the Cabinet member for children, the chief executive and senior officers in the council and from partner agencies including the police, health, probation and the education community. 

The council has also established a Shadow Board, comprising parents and carers and front-line staff, to make sure that any changes implemented make sense and are helpful to those who use these services. This work has progressed well. There has been no re-inspection of children's services by Ofsted since, however the work completed to date has been commented on positively by the Department for Education. 

In common with every other local authority, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, staff across children's services had to rapidly adapt to ensure that the most vulnerable children across East Riding were supported and safeguarded during these very difficult times. The social care workforce response to this challenge has been exceptional, often requiring our staff to make visits and stay in contact with children and families well outside of any usual working pattern or hours, whilst also responding to the challenges presented in their own lives. 

Again, this work has been commented on very positively by the Department for Education and has given further confidence in the improvement and development work that is well underway." 

You can read the Ofsted report here: East Riding of Yorkshire Council inspection of children's social care services.

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