Ofsted brands child services 'inadequate'

A council issued an apology to children and parents yesterday after inspectors labelled its attempts to look after its most vulnerable young people "inadequate". Dean Ashton, head of children's services in Cornwall, resigned ahead of the Ofsted report.

The report, following an unannounced spot-check, branded senior managers "ineffective", adding staffing levels were "insufficient" to provide support. Inspectors were told there was no attempt at "preventative work". One parent told inspectors: "The situation has to get to crisis before we get support."

The inspectors also criticised the authority's attempts to meet national targets for reducing child obesity. The work was "limited to weighing and measuring children in reception (aged four) and year six (10- and 11-year-olds)".

Unannounced inspections were introduced in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy. The Haringey toddler was killed after sustained violent abuse from his mother, her partner and their lodger despite repeated home visits by social services.

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