‘Weak’ services report triggers an action plan

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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An action plan to address failings highlighted in a damning report on services for children and young people in the Isle of Man is to be drawn up.

Tynwald members voted unanimously in favour of the action plan which is then to be reported back to the court’s May sitting.

The action plan was an amendment put forward by speaker Steve Rodan to the basic motion which called on members simply to accept the report completed at the request of the Council of Ministers between August and October last year. .

The report, by the Scottish Care Inspectorate, found children and young people’s services were weak in five out of nine areas and merely adequate - meaning strengths just outweigh weaknesses – in the other four.

Three priorities for improvement were identified in the report. They were providing effective early intervention and support for children, young people and families; responding immediately to address children who could be at risk of abuse or neglect; and stronger collaborative leadership.

Chris Robertshaw MHK, Minister designate for Policy and Reform and previously Minister for Social Care, insisted the report concluded no child was unsafe.

In the Tynwald debate, Leonard Singer MHK, (Ramsey) said faster consideration needed to be given on whether or not to prosecute in cases of child abuse or neglect. Douglas North MHK John Houghton said the report was condemning.

‘Unsatisfactory means ‘‘major weaknesses’’ and there are four areas that are unsatisfactory. In reality ‘‘major weaknesses’’ means ‘‘useless’’, and ‘‘adequate’’ means ‘‘poor’’ because strengths only just outweigh weaknesses,’ he said.

‘This report means the services has not changed since Adam was a lad: it’s always been useless.’

Douglas South MHK Kate Beecroft criticised the report for making just three ‘rather woolly suggestions’ and said it lacked solid recommendations. Though she said the report was ‘disturbing’ she added the report did not say ‘‘at risk’’ children had slipped through the net.

Chris Thomas (Douglas West) said other services provided by bodies like the Children’s Centre and Rebecca House had been underestimated in the report.

Mr Robertshaw accused Mr Houghton of ‘unfortunate hyperbole’ and he disupted the report was ‘woolly’. He said he felt tremendous hard work was going on, children’s services were improving, and there would be a further inspection in one year’s time.

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