VITAL information about child protection was still being withheld from the Isle of Wight Council’s head of social services, just weeks after a damning Ofsted report into the service, it was revealed last night (Tuesday).
The watchdog last month branded the service inadequate and found systemic failings had left young Islanders at risk.
An additional £475,000 has been allocated for children’s social care next year, external inspectors to review child protection procedures have been appointed and 700 cases where no action had been taken on referrals have been re-examined.
At yesterday's (Tuesday) children and young people scrutiny panel meeting, social care director Ian Anderson said there were cases among the 700 when the decision not to take action could not be justified.
In 79 cases further enquiries were needed, and immediate action was taken in 25, to address concerns children were at risk.
But he admitted that, despite steps to strengthen the management framework, he had not received information about several audits carried out within his directorate concerning child protection.
The failing only come to light on Monday and the consequences were being dealt with, he said.
The entire structure of the directorate is now set to be overhauled.
Chief executive Steve Beynon admitted the creation of a deputy director post for children's safeguarding to support Mr Anderson — currently held by Ali Matthews — had been found wanting, and council leader Cllr David Pugh said a revised management structure would be brought before the council's employment committee next month.
He said: "I have asked whether the management of children's safeguarding, both in structure and personnel, has the capacity to deliver the step change in performance that is required.
"We are not satisfied that is currently the case. It's clear from the report the current management is a significant contributing factor to the shortcomings."
As a result of the report, three council officers have either left the council, moved to another post or their position is under consideration.
When asked by the County Press if Ms Matthews, who was not at the meeting, had been suspended, Mr Anderson said she had not been.
Some members of the scrutiny panel raised concerns they had been kept in the dark about the failings identified by Ofsted.
Cllr Paul Fuller said: "I do worry we are told only what officers and politicians want us to hear. Someone at management level must have been aware of these issues and, as a scrutiny panel, we should be told about them. Sometimes it's like trying to get blood out of a stone."
Cllr Chris Welsford raised concerns about the death of an 11 week old in October 2012 and whether the case had been appropriately handled by the Isle of Wight Council.
Mr Anderson said there was no record of a child dying on the date given that was involved in social care,
He said:"I do not know the source of Cllr Welsford's information, but it is not correct."