A SENIOR social worker has told the Hereford Times that a highly critical Ofsted report into Herefordshire Council’s child protection practice came as “no major surprise” on the frontline where staff are struggling to work within legal guidelines.

The social worker, who spoke out on the condition of anonymity, said staff - often consisting of newly qualified or agency appointments – felt undermined by both management and available resources amid a culture of criticism.

They voiced concern over staff turnover and claimed complex caseloads pass from worker to worker with no continuity for families and children.

Read this week's Hereford Times (out October 25) for the full interview.

Six months to change

Ofsted carryed out a snap inspection of Herefordshire's child protection services last month.

Their following report specifically cites “systematic failures” in areas such as management oversight, decision making and performance management.

Ofsted inspectors saw a significant number of cases where managers made
poor decisions in respect of ensuring children were protected from harm or

Jo Davidson, director for people’s services, and Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said they were disappointed with the report but accepted its findings.

The council will now work to an initial six-month-improvement plan to bring its child safeguarding procedures up to standard.