Blackpool council’s “inadequate” children’s service has been ordered to work with Essex County Council to drive up standards.
Blackpool Council’s children services, which was rated ‘inadequate’ in an inspection at the end of last year, has been told to work with Helen Lincoln and Essex County Council as commissioner for children’s services in Blackpool.
The legal notice sets out that the “Secretary of State for Education has carefully considered Ofsted’s report in respect of Blackpool Council of its inspection carried out between November 26 and December 7 2018.
“The inspection report found that the overall effectiveness of children’s social care services is ‘inadequate’. The key judgements for the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection and for the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families are both ‘inadequate’.
“The Secretary of State is therefore satisfied that the council is failing to perform to an adequate standard some or all of the functions to which section 497A of the Education Act 1996 is applied by section 50 of the Children Act 2004.”
It adds: “There is a presumption in cases of persistent or systemic failure that children’s social care services will be removed from local authority control, for a period of time, in order to bring about sustainable improvement, unless there are compelling reasons not to do so.”
Essex County Council’s children’s social care services were rated ‘outstanding’ at the beginning of the year.
The report in particular praised the staff and social workers, highlighting that: “Staff enjoy working in Essex; morale and motivation are high. Workers describe the work they are able to undertake with children and families as the reason they came into social work.”
It added: “Social workers know children very well. They demonstrate a good understanding of their needs and plans and are passionate about securing and sustaining improvements in their lives.”
A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “We are really pleased to have been asked by the minister to work alongside political and corporate leaders and staff in Blackpool.
“Essex’s children’s services have been recognised as outstanding by Ofsted and it is this track record of success and considerable experience that Helen Lincoln, our executive director for children, families and education, will bring to the council.
“We are keen to share best practice with Blackpool and work to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in the borough.”