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Bexley Council failing to protect children, say Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 14:22 15 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:25 15 October 2013

Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw. Pic by Dominic Lipinski/PA

Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw. Pic by Dominic Lipinski/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bexley's standard of child protection is "unacceptably poor" according to a report released by Ofsted today.

Criticisms included a failure to consider the views of children and families, a lack of support from partners such as the police and health services and a lack of management understanding about what good practice involves.

Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw said that “incompetent and ineffective leadership must be addressed quickly.”

He added: “But where those in leadership positions have capacity and potential, this must be recognised and nurtured.”

The first stand-alone social care annual report also called for a need for strong and stable leadership in children’s services.

Bexley was one of 20 councils nationwide named and shamed by Sir Michael - and one of only two London boroughs in the list, along with Kingston-upon-Thames.

A council spokesman said: “Ofsted inspected our children’s services in July 2012 and we have been working very hard since then to address the issues it raised.

“We made a number of immediate changes to ensure that all our professional practice was up to standard and worked with outside experts and our partners on a comprehensive improvement plan for the service.

“We’ve also recruited a new chairman for Bexley’s Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, which is an integral part of our children’s service.

“We feel we’ve made good progress in addressing Ofsted’s findings, including successfully recruiting more social workers, introducing a new ICT system and a multi-agency safeguarding hub, to ensure that the response to local safeguarding issues is as effective and joined-up as possible.”

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