Social Services: Somerset

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th February 2015.

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Photo of Tessa Munt Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat, Wells

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to broaden and escalate the Government’s intervention in Somerset County Council’s Children’s Services.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

I take any failure to provide children and young people with the services they deserve very seriously and I issued Somerset County Council with an Improvement Notice in November 2013. I recently met Somerset’s leadership and my officials have been working closely with the local authority against the requirements of my Improvement Notice; Ofsted’s 2013 report; and the Ofsted multi-remit inspection published on 26 November 2014.

Under the terms of my Notice, an improvement board with an independent Chair is in place and the Chair reports on progress in Somerset every three months. My officials are in regular communication with council leadership, and have attended each of the monthly boards to assess the LA’s improvement.

Ofsted is currently inspecting child protection and children in care service provision in Somerset and I am considering my next steps in relation to this intervention. I will not hesitate to escalate the intervention in the local authority if I am presented with further evidence that children and young people are still not safe in Somerset. I will inform Somerset County Council of my decision shortly.

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