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Improvement Plan to be implemented for Hertfordshire young people in care after High Court judgement

Hertfordshire County Council has agreed to establish an improvement plan after a high court judge ruled the council had failed young people in its care

In the recent ruling Mr Justice Keehan, at the Family Division of the High Court in London issued a strong indictment of the council’s Children’s Social Care Services saying:

‘In the whole of my professional life I have rarely encountered such egregious and long-standing failures by a local authority. The worst of it is, I cannot after the closest possible enquiry, understand why or what motivated the local authority to fail these children, this mother and the interveners as appallingly and for as extended a period of time. The whole history of the role of this local authority in the lives of these children is highly inexplicable. The only matter which is clear to me is that it did not have the welfare best interests of the children at the heart of its decision-making, such as it was’.

Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr David Hitchiner accepted the findings and welcomed the recommendations in the report promising to build these in to a new improvement plan to improve the services offered to Herefordshire children and their families.

The government has appointed an Improvement Adviser, Gladys Rhodes White, who will work with the Council for a minimum of 12 months, and ‘until such time that the Secretary of State is satisfied this is no longer required’.

Read the ruling here and the Councils response here.