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Her Majesty's Government what steps, short of the appointment of commissioners, they can take to deal with children's services departments which are a cause of concern.
The Department for Education intervenes in all local authorities that receive an inadequate Ofsted rating for children’s services.
In the most serious cases, improvement may require statutory intervention, whereby, under the Education Act 1996, the Secretary of State is able to direct a local authority to take whatever action is deemed necessary to secure improvement. In the last few years, Ministers have directed the setting up of new governance structures, including partnering with another local authority (e.g. Isle of Wight), bringing in extra improvement support (e.g. Somerset), or establishing a Children’s Services Trust (e.g. Doncaster).
In other cases the department takes non-statutory steps, issuing an ‘improvement notice’ detailing what actions a local authority is expected to take to improve its services and closely monitoring progress. We deploy government improvement advisers who are appointed to support and challenge these authorities to make rapid progress.