On Friday 17th December OFSTED released their report into Bury Council’s Children’s Services grading them “Inadequate” in all but one main categories, resulting in an overall rating of “Inadequate”.
The damning report from OFSTED began “There are serious failures which leave too many children at risk of harm in Bury”, a phrase which has sent shockwaves through the councillors and residents of Bury as to how the Council protects children in the Borough.
The first paragraph concludes “In some cases, risk is not always recognised, or responded to, in a timely way, leaving some children with insufficient timely protection.”
Bury Council have had OFSTED inspections and visits regularly since 2016, with the most recent visit being in September 2020, the report from which was published in November 2020. The latest inspection has found that since the last visit “the quality of practice has deteriorated, particularly for children in need of help and protection.”
Among the improvements suggested were:
• The timely recognition and response to risk at the front door
• The quality of strategy discussions and child protection investigations
• The quality of assessments, to ensure that they are regularly updated and are not over-optimistic in their analysis
On the report, Cllr Nick Jones, Leader of Bury Conservative Group commented:
“The senior leadership of Bury Council should hang their heads in shame following this report. The Council have fundamentally failed in their duty to the children and young people of our borough
“This has all been on the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Councils watch. They should consider their positions following this report.
“An improvement plan needs to be put together ASAP with Councillors updated on progress to ensure that the Council makes progress to improve.”
Cllr. Jo Lancaster, Shadow Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Skills:
“I am appalled at the findings in the most recent OFSTED Inspection of Bury Local Authority Children’s Services. The first sentence in the report clearly outlines the devastating findings, of the poor service and care our children in Bury are experiencing. ‘There are serious failures which leave too many children at risk of harm in Bury’.
“The Conservative Group and I hope to see a change in the senior leadership team, sooner rather than later because reports like this simply cannot continue.
“The senior team are indeed amongst the highest earners in the country. The CEO of Bury Council’s salary is higher than our Prime Minister’s. I do not believe the most vulnerable children in Bury are receiving the service they deserve, and it is clear to see the senior team are not delivering for the people of Bury.
“An overall judgement of INADEQUATE is simply heart-breaking and the Council Leader and Deputy Leader should consider their positions following this report.
James Daly MP, Bury North said:
“The fundamental duty of Bury Council is to protect children who need help and protection. This is a sacred responsibility to ensure those children who are vulnerable and at risk have the help and support they need.
“Bury Council are failing in this core duty and it is shameful.
“On page 4 it reads, “Some disabled children have experienced significant drift and delay in having their help for help and protection met.” I truly hope the Council will move to establish an SEN Hub, something I have been calling for over many months.
“The report is damning on the corporate leadership of Bury Council during this period and having been briefed I have no confidence they are able to put in place the changes needed.”