Staffordshire Childrens Services Critical Inspection, Net Zero Carbon Target in Staffordshire
Written by Hitmix Local News on 12 January 2024
Council Leaders are committed to improving Staffordshire children’s services after a critical inspection report.
Staffordshire County Council is prioritising improvements after an Ofsted inspection of children’s services found that the service ‘required improvement to be good’.
Following its inspection in November 2023, Ofsted praised provision for the 1,345 children and young people in care.
However, it also criticised other aspects of the children’s social care service, including inconsistent oversight of cases, initial assessments taking too long to complete, and insufficient practical support for those leaving care.
Now the council is committing to a series of actions, including stronger performance targets with more structured monitoring; a clearer escalation process for children and young people if they feel progress on issues isn’t fast enough; closer cooperation with health and housing providers; more sampling of work and better provision of broadband access for care leavers to support their first independent steps.
Staffordshire County Council is currently supporting 5,042 children, of which 1,345 are in care, and has seen its budget rise by 152 per cent since 2009 to £146 million for 2024/25.
The need to use ‘carbon offsetting’ to reach its net zero target by 2050 is being considered by Staffordshire County Council.
The authority has already reduced its carbon emissions by half, having declared a climate emergency in 2019.
Now Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Change, has welcomed a working group report which sets out options and a recommendation for offsetting choices essential if the authority is to reach net zero.
He said: “We have already made changes that produce quick wins, such as replacing street lights with low-energy LED bulbs, or upgrading old school buildings to make them more heat and energy efficient, but it will take a greater effort to take the more difficult final steps needed to reach met zero by 2050.
“We are open to different ideas and suggestions about how we might achieve that, but each one will have to be scrutinised closely.”
Cllr Tagg was speaking before Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet received a report from a working group of scrutiny committee councillors, which suggests planting more than a million trees on suitable sites including county council owned green spaces.
As well as trees off-setting some of the council’s carbon emissions, the report says that larger woods and forests could be used for leisure, tourism and, over time, generate an income.
Simon Tagg added: “The report focuses on possible ways that the Council can meet its commitment to the environment and support Staffordshire’s economy, while also enhancing the county’s quality of life.
“At this stage we are being asked to consider the report and we will respond in due course.”