Solihull Council handed Statutory Direction over children's services - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Council handed Statutory Direction over children's services

Solihull Editorial 2nd Nov, 2022   0

SOLIHULL Council has been handed its orders to improve its children’s social care.

The Statutory Direction was given to the Council on Tuesday (November 1) two weeks after the former Secretary of State for Education, Kit Malthouse MP, wrote a letter saying he was ‘unconvinced that sufficient improvement had been made.’

Sir Alan Wood has been appointed as a Commissioner to help the authority improve its children’s social care and functions.

The Statutory Direction says a meeting was held in September between senior leaders from the Department for Education and the Council to review progress.

The Direction states there were “serious practice concerns across the service with evidence of unknown and unassessed risk leaving some children at risk of harm” and there was “no clear plan to reduce or mitigate against situations of unallocated cases which has spanned a nine-month period and peaked at over 400 cases in August 2022”.

It also notes that areas still need to be addressed that were raised in the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) that was published in February which found a number of failings in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) in Solihull.

The JTAI was ordered following the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in Shirley in 2020.

Sir Alan’s appointment comes after the Council was handed an Improvement Notice in February calling for urgent changes to be made otherwise central government would step in following the publication of the JTAI.

In his weekly message Council leader Ian Courts said: “We, and our partner organisations who are responsible for safeguarding children in Solihull, are ready to give the Commissioner our full support and welcome any extra support or advice to improve the safeguarding of children, young people and families in Solihull.”

The Commissioner will provide an initial report to the Minister of State for Schools and Childhood by the end of January.


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