Problems highlighted with childprotection

PROBLEMS in the ways Monmouthshire council protects its children have “not been addressed well enough”, inspectors have said.

Estyn found on a two day visit to the authority in February that it was not making enough progress on “the most challenging and significant shortcomings” in its safeguarding management.

But at a council meeting yesterday (Thurs), the authority’s cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Liz Hacket Pain, said things are improving.

She said: “Lots of things have happened (since the visit). We have new officers in post. There are things we need to do and we have adhered to those recommendations. From special measures to excellent, you’re not going to get here without things in between.”

The letter to the authority said its management is unable to measure the success of their policies and that it still lacks effective management systems so staff can receive information on protecting children and young people.

Inspectors also found the council had prioritised safeguarding, that it had “set the foundations well towards improvement” and “has made some good initial progress”.

The council’s leader Cllr Peter Fox said: “I am disappointed that evaluative processes weren’t as strong as they should have been. But I’m sure they are in place and robust and strong now.”

Estyn first inspected Monmouthshire in November 2012 and a damning report was published in February 2013. When the report was published, the safeguarding policy was a serious cause for concern.

And Cllr Roger Harris said: “It’s vital to put this right. If we need assistance we should get it as soon as possible.”

Estyn held meetings with the leader of the council Cllr Peter Fox, elected members, the authority’s chief executive Paul Matthews, senior officers and head teachers when they visited three months ago.

Last November, safeguarding at Llandogo Primary School was described as needing critical intervention, and “significant” intervention at Mounton House.

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