BOSSES at Wokingham Borough Council have unveiled a twelve-point plan to improve children’s services.

An Ofsted report from July claimed the department ‘required improvement’ after an inspection in November 2018 claimed the service was ‘deteriorating’.

The watchdog suggested care at the department had “improved” in the seven months between reviews but it was highlighted disabled children and their families were ‘not getting the right level of help and protection’.

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Ofsted recommended five key areas the department needed to improve in but director Carol Cammiss said children’s services was in a “far better place” than it was at its last inspection.

Speaking to councillors about the latest Ofsted report, she added: “It was a really good report considering where we are in our journey.

“They crawled all over us – there was no stone unturned. There was very little we felt they did not discover.

“Everybody came out of it feeling like we know what we have got to do.”

Since the report was published children’s services chiefs have come up with a twelve-point plan to achieve a ‘good’ rating at the next inspection.

Areas of focus include producing a high performing service for children with special educational needs and disabilities, sustainably improving practice quality and performance, embedding robust financial management and more.

Bracknell News: the 12 point planthe 12 point plan

Ms Cammiss continued: “It is about changing the culture little bit by little bit and about having an impact.

“It is about helping our staff to get back in touch with the fundamentals of working with children.”

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One measure the department has already taken is to create a new ‘disabilities improvement board’ following Ofsted’s criticism of the authority’s care for disabled children.

A council report showed a “significant” improvement in the percentage of children who receive assessments after being referred to social care, with the rate increasing from 47 per cent in June 2018 to 87 per cent in June 2019.

Despite this, zero health and care plans have been issued to children within WBC’s 20 weeks target since September 2018.

Analysis from officers claimed this is because the service has struggled to appoint qualified workers and since early 2018 has been operating at less than 50 per cent capacity.

According to a report, an increase in funding from WBC means the service is now fully staffed and the department plans to issue 100 per cent of health and care plans within 20 weeks by early 2020.

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Councillors discussed these figures at a meeting on Tuesday, September 17.