Norfolk County Council’s children’s services appoints top advisor after damning Ofsted report

County Hall.

County Hall. - Credit: Sarah Cocke

A top safeguarding advisor has been brought in to oversee the major improvements needed in Norfolk's child protection service.

Simon Hart, former director of social services for both north-east England and London, will lead a new improvement board set up in the wake of a damning Ofsted report for Norfolk County Council. In February, inspectors rated child protection services as inadequate and called it 'inconsistent and patchy'.

The council said it took immediate action to address the problems identified by the watchdog.

The improvement board will supervise the efforts to improve the authority's front line service.

Mr Hart said: 'Ensuring the safety of children, young people and their families is probably the most important and complex of all responsibilities of local authorities, and rely very heavily on effective partnership working with police, NHS, schools and a host of other services.'

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The board has yet to hold its first meeting but Mr Hart said he was impressed by 'the determination and enthusiasm' of the county council to improve children's services.

Lisa Christensen, director of Norfolk's children's services, said the improvement board would transform all aspects of social care support for vulnerable children and families. 'There is some good practice in our arrangements but there is too much inconsistency and not enough excellence,' she said.

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Councillors, headteachers, police, health service and department for education representatives, Norfolk's Safeguarding Children's Board chairman Colin Chapman, and Dave Hill, director of children's services in Essex, will also join the board.

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