Council’s response to inspection into child protection services

Oxfordshire County Council has welcomed the findings of an inspection into local organisations’ work to protect children from abuse and neglect.

The report published today (10 May) highlights a number of significant strengths in relation to tackling child sexual exploitation (CSE) and ensuring the county’s most vulnerable children are protected.

It confirms that the council and its partners have made CSE a priority and are working well to combat one of the biggest challenges facing social services and other agencies across the country.

It also identifies areas for improvement, including the performance of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) – which receives all initial enquiries relating to vulnerable children and is where decisions are made about what action to take. These issues are well understood and the council is already working with its partners to remodel ‘front door’ arrangements for children’s social care – as detailed in a recent council scrutiny report.

Protecting the most vulnerable

Responding to the inspection report, the council’s Deputy Director for Safeguarding Hannah Farncombe said: “We have always said our focus is on protecting our most vulnerable children and importantly, the inspection found that we are doing this successfully and that no children were identified at risk of harm.

“Significantly, we have also received confirmation that the ongoing work of all partner agencies to protect children from child sexual exploitation is of a high standard, and that children in Oxfordshire are safer as a result of this.”

She added: “We’re determined to build on these identified strengths and are working with our partners to ensure that the necessary improvements are also made – in particular regarding the ‘front door’ of Children’s Social Care - so that we are providing the best possible service to all children and families in Oxfordshire.”

Further detail on inspection

The report published today resulted from a ‘Joint Targeted Area Inspection’ (JTAI) of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Oxfordshire. It included a special focus on responses to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and those missing from home, care or education.

The inspection was jointly carried out by Ofsted, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and the Care Quality Commission.