AN action plan detailing how the council intends to improve children’s services in York will be discussed by councillors before being submitted to Ofsted.

Inspectors graded the local authority’s services as ‘requires improvement to be good’ in all areas after an inspection in March.

They found that the quality of children’s services in York had declined since 2016 and improvements were not being made quickly enough.

Some children remained in neglectful situations for too long due to “over-optimism” about the progress made by some families. A lack of foster carers and the quality of social workers’ evidence to court were also highlighted by inspectors.

The draft plan sets out how improvements will be made in seven areas of children’s social work, including the effectiveness of supervision, quality of assessments and responses to children aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless.

The wellbeing of a small number of children in unregistered children’s homes was also raised as a concern in the report. The council expects to have no children in unregistered or unregulated provision as a result of its plan.

The council also wants to get a better understanding of why children go missing and to reduce the number of repeat ‘missing episodes’.

Cllr Andrew Waller, who replaced Cllr Ian Cuthberston as executive member for children, young people and education following the Ofsted report, said: “The pandemic provided unprecedented challenges for children’s social care, to which the service responded, and there were positive steps taken even under those pressures.

“This draft action plan will help us to continue our ongoing work with partners to further improve our services so, together, we can ensure that every child in York receives a better start in life, and to involve young people and families in the process.”

A meeting of the children, education and communities policy and scrutiny committee will discuss the plan at a meeting on Tuesday, June 28.

After the Ofsted report was published last month, Labour MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell, said it was right that we demand the very best for all children and families in York and ensured that they received consistent and excellent services.

She said: "We need to be confident that children are safe and secure and that they are at the very heart of all the decisions that are made with and for them.

"However, it is clear that the variations that have occurred in the service have been detrimental to some children and their families, and the pace of turning this around has been too slow."