Published: August 6, 2013
Burnham's MP 'horrified' at damning report on council child services

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has said she was "horrified" to learn that child protection services in Somerset have been given the lowest rating of inadequate by Ofsted.

The damning verdict comes after an unannounced inspection by Ofsted's inspectors.

Social Services was told to review its child protection plans immediately including cases that have been closed in the last three months.

Somerset County Council has described the report as "deeply disappointing" and has pledged to make extra funds available for investment in the department.

Burnham's Tessa Munt said: "After last year’s result, children’s services should have been an absolute priority for the Conservative-run council."

"I am shocked and horrified at this outcome. In 2009 under the Lib Dem administration, services were judged as 'outstanding' and it is utterly unacceptable for standards to have plummeted in this way."

"The recent tragic case of Daniel Pelka has shocked everyone and reinforces just how important it is to get children’s services right – there can be no cutting corners."

"I have written to John Osman, Leader of the Conservative County Council, and former Cabinet Member for Children and Families, asking him specifically to outline what he has done following last year’s report and how he will address this year’s failings."

"The Lib Dems at the County Council have experience, knowledge and skills which again they will offer to the ruling Conservatives in order to improve the lives of children in Somerset and I would hope that this expertise will now be utilised."

County Council Chief executive Sheila Wheeler, said: "We now have the right people in the right place doing the right things. Ofsted has recognised our investment in the service and our appointment of a nationally recognised interim director of children's services, Peter Lewis, to steer us through the changes we need to make."

"We do acknowledge that our speed of change has not been fast enough."


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