Fresh concerns have been raised over planned cuts to Children’s Services by Bath and North East Somerset Council after the authority’s child protection services received an ‘adequate’ rating during a recent Ofsted inspection.
The rating was awarded following an unannounced inspection of the Council’s child protection services in March. The ‘adequate’ rating awarded by inspectors mean that the Council’s services meet the minimum expected requirements to ensure children are safeguarded.
Conservative councillors have said that residents should feel reassured that the Council’s child protection services have been assessed as adequate, but have said they would like to see action taken to raise the rating to ‘good’ in coming years.
Conservatives have also said the inspection results call into question cuts planned by the Liberal Democrat-run authority to Children’s Services in the coming years, including budget cuts of up to 50% at the council’s Children Centres.
Conservative spokesman for Early Years, Children and Youth, Cllr Anthony Clarke (Cons, Lansdown) said:
“This report from Ofsted demonstrates just how important it is for the Council to prioritise essential services such as protection of children during tight financial circumstances.
“Whilst the Ofsted rating of ‘adequate’ should provide reassurance that B&NES is providing the services it should do at the level expected, there clearly remains room for improvement. This has to call into question some of the cutbacks B&NES is planning to make to Children’s Services in the coming years, particularly at Children’s Centres which are often able to pick up pick up potentially challenging situations early.
“We would like the Council to rethink some of its deeper spending cuts planned for Children’s Services in the coming years and look at what more can be done to gain a ‘good’ rating for its protection of children services at the next inspection.”