Barnsley’s child protection service ‘must improve’

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CHILD protection services in Barnsley have been told to improve after some areas were rated ‘inadequate’.

The overall effectiveness of safeguarding services, plus leadership and management, did not meet minimum requirements in the Ofsted inspection.

However inspectors said children were safe, felt safe, and did not find evidence of youngsters at risk of harm.

Some features were rated ‘good’.

Leaders at Barnsley Council and their partners said they were taking the findings ‘very seriously’ and addressing any shortfalls.

Judith Harwood, executive director of children, young people and families, said: “The partnership is clear that it can and will address the areas for improvement thoroughly.

“It had already identified several areas for development and the Ofsted findings will support its ambition to improve services.”

The report evaluated the contribution made by council, police and health services in Barnsley which protect children and make provision for children in care.

It said child protection investigations were inadequate and child protection plans were ‘often not clear’ on actions and timescales.

“Child protection practice has not received sufficient oversight by the council or by the Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board and the council cannot be assured risks have always been thoroughly assessed and addressed,” it said.

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was told to review A&E arrangements for responding to drunk youngsters or young people who have self-harmed as it currently has ‘no policy’.

But 14 key areas were found to be ‘adequate’ and two were rated ‘good’.

Simon Hart of Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Despite the overall assessment, the board is pleased that areas of good practice have been recognised.

“However, we are equally concerned about those areas which clearly require improvement and will work with the council and its partners to ensure they are addressed as quickly as possible.”