Sunderland Children’s Services ‘Blighted By Serious Failings’

Specialist Lawyers Call For Urgent Action To Improve Safety

21.07.2015

Swift action must be taken to ensure that young people in Sunderland are effectively protected from harm, according to specialist abuse lawyers reacting to a new Ofsted report which found “serious failings” in the city’s children’s services.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, has written to the Government recommending action after the inspection into Sunderland City Council’s Children’s Services and Local Safeguarding Children Board identified major concerns.

Among the issues noted were high caseloads preventing workers from providing effective support, a high number of unallocated cases and some services being insufficient or poorly coordinated.

A spokesman for Ofsted said the failings left children “potentially at risk of harm”, adding: “"Inspectors identified serious weaknesses in basic child protection practice and oversight of services for care leavers, alongside poor leadership at all levels.”

Expert Opinion
“The findings of the Ofsted report have raised very clear concerns regarding the level of support available to vulnerable young people in the Sunderland area – and it is vital that this leads to decisive action to raise standards.

“Sadly, in recent times there have been a number of cases in which failings in the safeguarding of children have had devastating consequences, so it appears there is much to be done to ensure local authorities have effective and robust systems in place to protect young people.

“Lessons need to be quickly learned by the issues seen in this report and we would urge councils across the UK to also ensure they have the right processes in place to protect vulnerable members of their community.”
Emma Crowther, Solicitor