Still no agreed plan to improve Birmingham’s social care for children

Social care chiefs in Birmingham are yet to agree an improvement plan almost five months after safeguarding services for children at risk of physical and sexual abuse were slammed as inadequate.

Inspectors from education watchdog Ofsted found “significant weaknesses” in child protection arrangements in July.

An improvement board has been set up by the Government, but is yet to reach agreement plan with the city council and other agencies on an action plan.

The delay was described as worrying by vulnerable children scrutiny committee chairman Neville Summerfield.

Coun Summerfield (Con Brandwood) said: “I sometimes feel I am in another room looking in.

“This committee is asking lots of questions, but not getting many answers.

“We really do need to put some meat on the bones of proposed improvements.”

The city’s new interim strategic director for children, young people and families, Eleanor Brazil, said it was important to take time to produce a workable plan that had the backing of all public bodies in Birmingham.

Ms Brazil, who is reported to be paid £1,000-a-day for her expertise, ran Haringey social services after the Baby Peter scandal.

She added: “Looking at how short term actions can lead to sustainable long term change is absolutely critical.

“Part of that has to be the involvement and encouragement of senior officers within the health services, police and schools.”

Ofsted rated the effectiveness of safeguarding services, and capacity for improvement inadequate.

Quality of provision, leadership and management were also inadequate.

Children’s services director Colin Tucker said: “We are not just sitting around waiting for an action plan.

“We are making improvements to the service every day.

“Over 200 audits of front line practice have been carried out. Some are very good, some are not so good.”