CHILDREN’S services in Bucks have once again been judged to be inadequate.

In November 2017, the children’s services of Buckinghamshire County Council were re-inspected by Ofsted, following a previous rating of ‘Inadequate’ in 2014. However, the most recent report, published on Monday, again judged the service to be severely under-performing.

Ofsted’s report read: “Overall progress in improving services for children in Buckinghamshire since the last inspection in 2014 has been inconsistent and too slow. The strategic response to change has been piecemeal and has not successfully achieved the required whole scale improvements to services for vulnerable children.

“The high turnover of social workers, high caseloads in some teams, and poor recording have all been significant contributory factors to the slow progress of children’s plans, and have led to some children being left at risk.”

The report further criticised the frequent changes in social workers made it difficult for the child to come to trust their worker enough to share concerns, in addition to the fact that support for them would sometimes end too soon. The report further noted ‘weak’ managerial oversight, and ‘over-optimism’ about the effectiveness of written care agreements with parents.

The report recommended that managerial oversight be urgently improved at all levels of the service, and to ensure that there was a robust system of monitoring visits for children.

Despite the poor overall score, the service’s adoption department was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

Cabinet member for children’s services for Bucks, Cllr Warren Whyte, said: “I am extremely disappointed and concerned with the outcome, and the council fully accepts the findings of the report.

“It is clear that some of our services are still not good enough yet and the pace of improvement in some key areas has been too slow.

“It is our collective responsibility to make sure that we put this right.

“My message to the children and families we support is that we remain resolute and determined to improve.”