Council admits gaps in child care

Coun Erin Hill.
Coun Erin Hill.
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Kirklees Council has admitted to finding gaps in the way it has dealt with vulnerable children in the past.

An investigation led by Cabinet member for children’s services Erin Hill revealed issues which led to concerns for 22 young people over the past two years in social services.

In a bid to be open about the findings, Coun Hill previously briefed the media on audits it has conducted before updating members of Cabinet on Tuesday.

A report reads: “Some of the key themes identified relate to the absence of consistent management oversight, failure to record, and inconsistent assessment quality and recording.

“Audits also highlighted that the voice of the child was not sufficiently evident and that children and their families were not consistently or sufficiently involved in the assessment.

“The visits to children and young people were not always recorded on the electronic file though they were sometimes present in paper records.”

Speaking prior to the Cabinet meeting Coun Hill said good examples of practice were also found, and that work has already been put in place to rectifying the problems.

She is confident that no child was harmed as a result of the shortcomings.

She said: “The first thing we did was set up a development board. We were bringing in a new management structure at the time anyway, but the development board work goes across the council.

“I think it’s important to stress that our priority is always the safety of vulnerable children.

“The most important thing is that we can support our staff to do the right thing for our children. We remain incredibly ambitious. When looking after children we have to function as their parents.”