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TODAY is the first of the all important five day Ofsted inspection into Sandwell Council Children’s Services department.

Everyone in the department, which was branded poor by Ofsted after a previous inspection, has been wished luck during the inspection by Sandwell chief executive Jan Britton.

He said: “Good luck to everyone in Children’s Services. I hope it goes well.”

A vastly better Ofsted report is vital under the terms of the Improvement Notice it has been working under since 2009.

The council has set out its stall to improve standards after Ofsted found it was failing local children in a variety of ways including not keeping them safe and not providing good enough education.

Looked after children were shown to have also been continually let down by the department.

In January chief executive Mr Britton made it clear improving Children’s Services and getting a better Ofsted rating was the council’s top priority in 2012.

He said: “The most important for the Council as a whole will be removing Children’s Services from the Improvement Notice they’ve been working under since the Ofsted inspection in 2009.

“This is a council-wide priority and should be at the top of the agenda for anyone who has contact with the Children’s Department in any capacity.

“I want everyone who works in Children’s Services to know they are not alone and that we support them in the huge changes they are making.”

After criticisms of the department’s leadership the council installed Barbara Peacock as head of department and cabinet member for Children’s Services Councillor Bob Badham has backed her progress.

Cllr Badham welcomed the prospect of another Ofsted inspection, he said: “We have the chance to prove ourselves.”

Oftsted will publish the results of the inspection into Sandwell Council Children’s Services within the next two months.

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