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Children: Protection

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to improve child protection services in Doncaster. (284447)

In response to the inadequate judgments in Doncaster Metropolitan borough council's 2008 annual performance assessment, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) commissioned a comprehensive diagnostic review of the council's children's services. The diagnostic review confirmed the seriousness of inadequate performance in Doncaster and, in response, the Secretary of State issued a direction under section 497A of the Education Act 1996, to the effect that the council was directed to secure a new senior leadership team for children's services, to prepare an Improvement Plan, and to appoint an Improvement Board with an independent Chair, Tony Elson, to oversee improvements. On 1 April, the council appointed Gareth Williams, Director of Children's Services (DCS) for Leicestershire county council, as interim DCS for Doncaster on a six month secondment. The council has prepared an Improvement Plan, which is being implemented. DCSF is supporting the council to secure a new senior leadership team for children's services for the longer term.