Vulnerable children in Waltham Forest are still not being properly protected by the council three years after the authority was found to have one of the worst children services departments in the country, inspectors have said.

A damning report by Ofsted found the authority continues to fail to meet minimum requirements in all safeguarding categories, although no children were left at risk of significant harm.

Work to protect missing children, or those at risk of being sexually abused, was found not to be properly co-ordinated, although it had been given greater priority since the last inspection.

First responses to child protection concerns were said to be good, but there were delays in social workers carrying out follow–up visits to families due to high workloads and inadequate resources.

Staff turnover was found to be high, with limited assessment of risk and poor action, planning and recording.

Last week it emerged that 45 per cent permanent jobs in the borough's social services were not filled, with temporary staff covering these positions.

Also, the number of children fostered privately was deemeed too low.

A “significant minority” of children in care suffered due to inconsistent practices, a lack of suitable local placements and some children were not seen often enough by social workers.

Inspectors found services were not informed enough by the views of children in care and older children were making poor progress at school.

The council had also lost contact with a third of care leavers.

In September 2011, inspectors found Waltham Forest Council's children's services were among 15 across the country where a "significant" number of vulnerable children were put at risk due to serious failings.

Despite recognising some improvements, Ofsted said support for majority of vulnerable children is still not good.

In a statement following the publication of the report yesterday, Cllr Mark Rusling, cabinet member for children and young people, said he welcomed Ofsted’s “feedback”.

“I am pleased that Ofsted have recognised the progress we have made over the last year but with a need to improve in some areas, there is absolutely no room for complacency,” he said.

“We want our services for children to be the best they can be so part of that means taking an honest look ourselves at what we need to improve, and our own findings were echoed by Ofsted.”

“Going forward, I’m confident that we’ll be able to deliver improvement plans to bring the services that are lacking up to speed so they are more in line with others.”

A council spokeswoman added: "Ofsted uses four categories to rate local authorities and education and childcare providers.

"Against a backdrop of increasing scrutiny on services for vulnerable children, the vast majority of London boroughs have a ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted rating to drive up standards across the board."