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SALFORD COUNCIL CHILDREN SAFEGUARDING
 

Star date: 3rd March 2011 

SALFORD CHILD SAFEGUARDING STILL NOT RIGHT 

After last year's criticism by OFSTED of Salford Council's `inadequate' child safeguarding, an unannounced inspection published this week has found that while the service is improving, there are still many `areas for development'

OFSTED found that the electronic system of recording child protection enquiries "inhibits accurate recording of analysis of risk", that information sharing was not consistent and more.

Full story here…


This week, Salford Council issued a self congratulatory press release around an unannounced OFSTED inspection which showed improvements in the city's child safeguarding service.

"The inspection found the council has met all of the recommendations from the previous unannounced inspection in 2009" the release stated "They have also put a robust safeguarding improvement plan in place, improving management and supervision to ensure staff, especially those recently qualified, are better supported than ever."

Salford Council Leader John Merry was "delighted that this unannounced inspection has shown we are making substantial progress". Not one word of the criticisms by OFSTED was mentioned.

While there was a "robust safeguarding improvement plan in place", OFSTED found that, in practice, too many child assessments "contained insufficient analysis", that "some managers have signed off poor quality completed assessments" and that the Council's electronic recording system "inhibits accurate recording of analysis of risk and decision making".

Perhaps, worst of all, OFSTED reported that that "The Salford Protocol between the emergency duty team and the daytime service is not embedded sufficiently to ensure that information sharing is of a consistent quality to aid understanding of the presenting issues from referrals or requests for additional work".

OFSTED also found that changes in management have "contributed to low morale, amongst some staff, weak supervision arrangements and some inconsistent management decision making".

On the bright side, OFSTED found that, at last, "caseloads are maintained at a manageable level and work, including child protection enquiries, is carried out by suitably qualified social workers who are managed by experienced managers".

OFSTED also reported that "practice and procedures comply with statutory guidelines to ensure that children and young people suffering or at risk of harm are identified and receive a prompt and appropriate response".

But after Salford Council's `inadequate' ratings over the last few years (see here) the OFSTED inspection was hardly glowing.  

"There is still more to do to make sure we are providing the best service for children and young people living in the city" said John Merry. The Salford Council press spin never stated exactly what more the Children's department had to do to make our kids safe.

See the full OFSTED Inspection Report here

jim devine wrote
at 05:43:01 on 09 March 2011
John, if it is only genuinely two then its less than I thought and maybe defuses a bit of my anger. If its more I am sure the Star quite rightly will correct you. The way these board appointments are dished out is one of my main anger points but two isnt a hanging offence.
 
John Merry wrote
at 13:10:11 on 06 March 2011
I sit on the Young Persons Learning Agency and the North West Development Agency in both it is a matter of public record what I am paid . You are quite prepared to quote Ofsted when it suits you but now that it has issued a positive report it cannot be trusted. I don't have the figures to hand on either appt but will give you them this week.
 
jim devine wrote
at 05:39:31 on 06 March 2011
Come to think of it, how independant are OFTSTED. To me they are an organisation nmade by the elite for the elite just like every other feckin public appointed board. I wouldnt trust a single one of them , wouldnt even surprise me if Merry was on the board taking his usual few grand. How many boards are you on John, how much are you earning. Now you are prepared to put your toe in the Salford Star water please answer this public interest question in full or are your cowardly instincts going to kick back in? To me a public paid official who refuses to state how much public money he is receiving from public boards is a shocking offence to any decency and by the way Tony Blair is a murdering bastard, hows that for offence?
 
John Merry wrote
at 05:38:44 on 06 March 2011
Not sure what dubious croneyism Atholl St is referring to nor am I aware of any questions I have refused to answer . When Steve has requested an interview I have always agreed. Jim I don't know if you have read the report but it says we are dischargeing ALL our statutory responsibilities and I want to support the staff who have worked so hard to make substantial progress
 
Atholl St resident wrote
at 21:20:37 on 05 March 2011
John Merry displays the absolute same pompous arrogance as most political people.To me he seems to think we should be priviledged that he contributes, can I tell him something about what we feel. On a scale of 1 to 10 of contributary acceptance to me he is -3 which might increase if he decided to answer all questioins and not just the ones he liked.Please learn to show a bit more humility and less arrogance. Just because your a leader due to dubious cronyism doesnt mean we are going to pay homage to you, this is England 2011 not England 1647.
 
jim devine wrote
at 21:20:27 on 05 March 2011
John and Star, try telling that to vulnerable children who Cynic and John feel are statiscally dispensable. To me that is real offence and isnt it time people got angry, do you really think Mubarraak would have resigned if the Egyptian people had have said "oh sorry to trouble you old chap but would you mind popssibly moving aside". It would be a great day when people like Cynic and Merry didnt provoke me into being a reactionary but bar me by all means but please dont patronise me.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 14:34:17 on 05 March 2011
See John Merry's comment below... The Salford Star certainly doesn't want to drive away anyone who disagrees with our editorial line. In fact, we'd encourage it to keep us on our toes. The whole point of the net is that it's interactive. In fact what we'd really like is for people to add to the articles with their own experiences. Debate is fine but if it's just constant slagging off for the hell of it, or just saying `We're right, you're wrong' it doesn't really get anywhere. Except for our completely biased Salford City FC reports, of course. But that doesn't count.
 
John Merry wrote
at 14:24:13 on 05 March 2011
I have no idea who cynic is but I think he was trying to make a serious point not about cars but about the nature of these reports which is that there always will be areas for improvement. Can I suggest heaping abuse on anyone who disagrees with the notion that the star is infallible does not help this sites reputation. I have put a tentative toe back in the water because I genuinely want to discuss these issues and so far the response has been tough but not descended back to personal insults but a few still seem to want to drive out any who disagree
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 08:52:09 on 05 March 2011
We are not talking about fucking cars we are talking about childrens welafre & if you cant see the difference then maybe cynic is the right name.
 
JIM DEVINE wrote
at 08:51:54 on 05 March 2011
Goodness me, at the heart of the Star's story is the welfare of children and some asshole is comparing them to flippin Toyota cars (Whats their new model going to be called, the Baby P). With allies like you Salford Council really doesnt need enemies (although they are trying their best).
 
The Cynic wrote
at 19:56:49 on 04 March 2011
I've worked for many years making improvements in manufacturing processes and have done a bit of auditing. In my opinion in this respect there is no such thing as perfection and therefore there will always be some areas for development. I bet if you find the report for the best council in the country you will find there are areas for development listed. If there aren't, then the inspection was rubbish. Toyota began developing their production system in the 1940's but they are still improving it now; but rather than complaining because there are still areas for improvement, businesses all over the world are copying it. This is why words matter; some and many have different meanings. If the report has said "many areas for improvement" and the council's press release said "some areas for improvement" you would have been the first to point out the difference.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 17:51:42 on 04 March 2011
It's typical of politicians to be selective in their interpretation of anything. Ignore the criticism, highlight the praise. I can accept that sometimes mistakes are made, I can accept the it might take time to redress those mistakes. What I find hard to stomach though is the way a politician makes it sound like Utopia when some small progress is made. It is because of things like this that Salford needs the Salford Star. And is there really a difference between 'some' & 'many'?
 
John Mery wrote
at 17:51:16 on 04 March 2011
Sorry forgot to put name on prev comment
 
Salford Star wrote
at 17:18:34 on 04 March 2011
See John Merry's unattributed comment below... We can agree that the headline is absolutely accurate, that Children's Services are still not right. You've just wrote it yourself in your comment -if there's still `more to do' then they aren't right are they? Yes they are improving - we wrote it in the first para, so don't know why you're getting your knickers in a twist.
 
wrote
at 16:53:36 on 04 March 2011
The headline implies no improvement when the report says the exact opposite. Are our kids safer ? The report says yes. Is there still more to do? Of course. Why cannot we agree on that
 
Salford Star wrote
at 14:57:01 on 04 March 2011
See John Merry's comments below...Sorry but we're not here to regurgitate press releases, like other publications do. Fact: Salford's Children's Services are still not right. Shouldn't you be addressing the OFSTED criticisms rather than slagging us off? What is the Council going to do about it? Are our kids safe? There's another report going up on Sunday which unfortunately is embargoed until then. Perhaps you'd like to answer that one too?
 
John Merry wrote
at 14:49:31 on 04 March 2011
someone predicted that Steve would insist on a negative headline to a positive report I did not believe them. I was wrong
 
Salford Star wrote
at 13:28:32 on 04 March 2011
Is that us or John Merry you're on about? Just repeating his words
 
Words (between the lines of space) wrote
at 13:26:33 on 04 March 2011
Sarcastic language like 'treasure it' is pretty offensive when commenting on such a serioius matter and shows a worrying immaturity.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 12:56:45 on 04 March 2011
See comment below...So everything's perfect in Children's Services is it? And we should ignore OFSTED's valid criticisms? Don't forget, four years ago when we first questioned Safeguarding the reply from the Council was that everything was fine and under control and then look what happened! It was only yourself, John, who apologised about a year later in issue 6 of the Star while the rest of the Dept tried to shove it under the table. We've every right to be meticulous and point out to Salford people every scrap of OFSTED criticism. The Council's press release never even mentioned it. Also, don't forget, it took a metaphorical Government gun to Salford Council's head, plus a real child's death, to get you to sort it out. The mess at Children's Services had been going on for years and years. And Salford's Children's Services are `still not right' - treasure it - it might just come back to haunt you.
 
John Merry wrote
at 12:43:01 on 04 March 2011
Not sure if you fully understand the Ofstted reporting structure. There are always areas for development and your choice of headline is one that I will treasure. It is a positive report confirming the progress made and the fact that all the recommendations have been met. Mr Cynic is right
 
Salford Star wrote
at 10:17:50 on 04 March 2011
See comment below...Stop being so pedantic - within those four areas were two or three other things, so that constitutes `many'. Besides which Mr Cynic, if you're so cynical why not address the one-sided, `distorted' Council press release. We await your deconstruction of that - it's on their website.
 
The Cynic wrote
at 10:14:18 on 04 March 2011
But you deliberately chose to omit the word "some" from the quotation and instead substituted the word "many". If the four areas quoted were enough for anyone, why did you feel the need to distort the contents of the report to make it seem worse than it really was?
 
Salford Star wrote
at 20:13:17 on 03 March 2011
See comment below - we'd say that the four areas mentioned and quoted were enough for anyone. And if anyone has been `selectively quoting' it's the Council's press releasse which failed to mention any of the OFSTED criticisms. At least we gave both good and bad points from OFSTED. And don't get us wrong, we want the safeguarding to improve - our kids have to live here!
 
The Cynic wrote
at 20:07:12 on 03 March 2011
I've just followed the link you included to the inspection report but I assume you've linked to the wrong document? The report refers to "some areas for development" not the many areas for development stated in your article... unless of course you are selectively quoting so that you can write a negative article?
 
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