There should be cause for concern over any local authority service which is branded inadequate by Government inspectors.
Further alarm bells ring when those same inspectors suggest that there are “systematic failings”.
And when the service in question covers the welfare and well-being of some of the most vulnerable people in society, we should all sit up and take notice.
Ofsted inspectors say children in care in Northamptonshire are not getting the help and support they need and that society demands.
The findings of the inspection by the education watchdog in July are damning and follow a report earlier this year which said that abused children were not being properly protected by the council.
The county council, which has the duty of care to these children, says it is already making improvements and we can only hope that this work starts to bear fruit.
Let’s not forget that those in power at County Hall are acutely aware of the need to improve this service and that the spotlight is well and truly on them.
New staff and procedures that have been introduced can only help rectify this situation.
Time will tell whether the new policies, procedures, working practices and staff will lead to improvements. But change needs to be quick, or we will continue to let our children down.
Neil Pickford, Editor