Moray children’s services look to appoint external leader following damning report

The Care Inspectorate has called for urgent action.

The search has begun for an independent person to lead a group tasked with safeguarding Moray’s children following a damning report.

In the wake of Care Inspectorate findings the Moray Community Planning Partnership, comprising representatives from the council, NHS, police and voluntary organisations, formed a three-year plan to guide improvements.

Now the group is looking to appoint someone to head its child protection committee to improve accountability.

Progress on the raft of changes made in children’s services following the findings are also due to be detailed to Moray Council next month.

Earlier this year youngsters were found to be suffering from “emotional harm” while services were condemned for only intervening at a “crisis” point.

Leading figures from the authorities have already pledged to work closer together to improve communication between the organisations.

Yesterday a spokesman for the partnership’s chief officer group explained that the decision to find a new independent chairman was only one of several changes that have been made since the report was published.

He said: “There has been a whole raft of fundamental changes to the governance structures and scrutiny of children’s services in Moray.

“To strengthen scrutiny of our local inter-agency child protection services, the chief officers group that oversees the improvement programme is seeking to appoint an interim, independent chairperson.

“In conjunction with neighbouring authorities, the chief officers are also looking at longer-term options for this role.”

Fabio Villani, chief officer of third sector group TSI Moray, said: “The committee used to be chaired by a senior member of staff from the local authority but they decided it would make more sense for it to be chaired by an independent person for proper external scrutiny.

“As far as TSI Moray is concerned we are doing great. We just had an external review of internal processes. There are things we need to improve but everything is fine.”