BOARD members made up of council, hospital and police bosses in Barnsley have reiterated their commitment to protecting local children from harm following an inspection into the service.

Watchdog Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) looked into the Barnsley Safeguarding Children Partnership (BSCP) and said the service demonstrates ‘ambition and commitment’.

However, inspectors noted it was ‘too early’ to see consistent progress due to it being recently formed, and criticisms were lodged with the service’s timeliness of response to some incidents.

A report said: “The partners are committed to working together and are ambitious for children and improving their lived experiences.

“A new independent scrutineer is supporting the partnership to review its priorities and how it functions to support children in Barnsley.

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“Partners have started to make progress, however the pace of change has not always been sufficient to have a positive impact on improving children’s lives.

“The partnership has a broad core membership, and this means that a range of professionals offer their knowledge and experience of ‘front-door’ services for children and contribute to forward planning.

“However, the private, voluntary and independent education providers are not currently represented on the BSCP.

“This is a missed opportunity to have these significant education providers contribute to future planning.”

Barnsley Council launched Operation Encompass alongside South Yorkshire Police last year, enabling the town’s school and college leaders to act as lookouts in a bid to spot any signs of abuse.

Every education setting in the town is now signed up - something which was praised for improving long-term outcomes.

A joint statement - issued by council children’s services director Carly Speechley, chief nurse Jayne Sivakumar and Superintendent Emma Wheatcroft - on behalf of the BSCP admitted there is more to do.

“We want our children and young people to feel safe and have opportunities to live fulfilling lives - this is our priority.

“The inspection highlighted that most children in Barnsley receive the right support at the right time to identify risks and meet their needs across the services that might have the initial contact with them.

“We have good foundations to build on - we’re proactive in responding to local and national issues concerning identifying the risk of harm in children and young people.

“The inspectors found that our school leaders reported increased confidence and competence in leading early help plans for children and families.

“We know that there is more to do but we’re committed to building on our strengths and the progress that we’ve made to provide high-quality, consistent support to children, young people, their parents and carers across Barnsley.

“We’ll set out our plans and our joint commitment in a written statement of action and we will submit this to the inspection team in October.”