David Cameron yesterday called for an end to the "tick-box mentality" in adoption services as league tables naming poor performers were unveiled.
During a visit to a children's centre in north London, the Prime Minister said officials were spending too much time asking prospective parents "pointless questions" and urged them to show more "discretion" and "judgment".
Hackney, in east London, was named the worst performer over the last three years for placing children up for adoption quickly. Just 43 per cent of youngsters were found new homes within 12 months, the Department for Education's league tables show. The national average was 74 per cent from 2008-2010.
Other poor performers included Brent (52 per cent), Nottinghamshire (55 per cent), and Derby and the East Riding of Yorkshire, both on 57 per cent. From a three-year average covering 2009-2011, just 12 per cent of children in care in England were successfully adopted.