Council’s failure to add social work capacity means children at risk of harm face delays, Ofsted warns

A council’s response to children at immediate risk of harm has “deteriorated” after senior leaders failed to speedily put in place extra funds to boost social work capacity, Ofsted has warned.

A focused visit to Tameside in April, primarily looking at the council’s ‘front door’, found that additional investment promised after inspectors’ last trip to the Greater Manchester borough had not materialised quickly enough, fuelling widespread service delays.

Ten months had elapsed between the previous focused visit, in May 2021, and an additional social work team being set up, with tentative improvements only just being felt, Ofsted said.

“Too many children experience delay in having their needs for help and protection promptly assessed and met,” inspectors wrote in a letter to Ali Stathers-Tracey, Tameside’s director of children’s services (DCS).

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