Report ‘a wake-up call’ for child protection

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People who work with children and families have said they are appalled but not surprised by the slating Bucks children’s services received from Ofsted.

Margo Parfitt, who runs Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers (YC2), said: “I’m not surprised by the report because we’ve had serious concerns for some time.”

Ms Parfitt said she has seen for herself the inadequacy of Children’s Services, which are meant to protect and support vulnerable children and young people in Bucks.

YC2 made a formal complaint about the service to the Child Protection First Response team a few weeks ago.

Ms Parfitt said: “We at YC2 know of families who are suffering stress and uncertainty due to the lack of communication and support they receive from social services, which in turn means the caring situation for a young carer is made worse.

“This is a wake-up call to those in charge of child protection services. It is a miracle that, as far as we know, no child has had to pay the ultimate price for the mistakes of those charged with their care.”

Chairman of Community Care North Bucks Keith Croxton said: “We are appalled by the Ofsted report into the services for children in need of help and protection provided within Bucks County Council.

“It is unacceptable that young children are put at risk as a result of the weaknesses now identified.

“We hope there is appropriate accountability for the poor service and the weaknesses are quickly and effectively put right.”

John Riches, who chairs the advisory board for Buckingham and Steeple Claydon Children’s Centres, said: “The whole thing is inadequate – leadership, management and governance. We have concerns
as independent people supporting the children’s centres.

“We have had a continuing correspondence with the senior officers at the county council asking for meetings and we’ve either been ignored or ‘duck-shoved’.

“One of the things Ofsted asks of you is, are you identifying vulnerable families? But you can’t do it unless you’re getting the data.

“Is that data available to children’s services? Yes it is, but it isn’t coming through to us.”