Child safety inadequate says Ofsted
There is real cause for concern, according to Ofsted, as 10 local authorities have been found to be inadequate in safeguarding children this year.
It warned that too many cases were not being actioned quickly enough because of pressure from increased demand caused by a surge in referrals since the death of baby Peter Connelly in 2007.
The authorities found to be inadequate by Ofsted were Cornwall, Warrington, Leeds, Sandwell, Calderdale, Salford, Peterborough, Nottinghamshire, Birmingham and Essex.
The 10 authorities were identified out of a total of 29 that were inspected this year.
The report said that in many of the local authorities labelled inadequate, rising demand, poor planning and management led to high caseloads, overuse of agency staff, turbulence in front-line teams, and the exposure of new and inexperienced staff to a volume and complexity of work that they struggled to deal with.
Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said there was a huge difference between local authorities and that problems were deep, with no easy solutions that could be remedied by waving a magic wand.
In its annual report, Ofsted said referrals to children's social care services had risen 11% from March 2009 to March 2010.
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