Third positive report in a row as council targets ‘good’ rating
The latest monitoring visit by Ofsted has endorsed the steps Tower Hamlets continues to take to significantly improve its services for children, families and young people.
Inspectors have published their latest report following their most recent visit in early May to review the council’s arrangements for the help and protection of vulnerable adolescents. This included looking at measures around children at risk of exploitation, young people missing from home or care and those involved in gang activity.
Some of the key findings include:
- ‘Substantial improvements to the quality of multi-agency and social work practice for vulnerable adolescents and their families.’
- Improvements to identifying and tackling exploitation including ‘multi-agency interventions and engagement with young people that is having a positive impact.’
- ‘Strong partnership work to counter the risk to children from radicalisation’
- ‘A much improved quality service to vulnerable adolescents by the reconfigured child-focused out-of-hours emergency duty team
- Success in recruiting permanently to senior and middle manager posts, although recruitment and retention of staff is ‘a priority and challenge.’
Following the inspection, Her Majesty’s Inspector Brenda McLaughlin said: "This is extremely encouraging given the particularly complex challenges involved in this work.
"Political leaders and managers are demonstrating considerable determination and commitment to embedding and sustaining these changes, while simultaneously addressing poor practice."
The council has set the target of achieving a ‘good’ rating by 2019 and is improving all aspects of the service through an Improvement Plan agreed by the Department for Education in June 2017.
The plan is implemented, monitored and updated on a monthly basis and is overseen by an independently chaired Improvement Board.
Every quarter, Ofsted visits to inspect progress in different areas of the service after Children’s Service was rated inadequate in June 2017. Since then, Ofsted has published the findings of two quarterly visits which have demonstrated the council is making good progress in delivering the Improvement Plan.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: "The council is improving its children’s services at a rapid rate. The fact that we have had three positive visits since our Improvement Plan was agreed with the Department for Education last year shows we are on the right track. But I don’t take that for granted and we remain unremittingly focused on keeping that way.
"This visit focused on particularly challenging areas around vulnerable young people. Our service has to be in good shape to identify these issues before they become problems for our young people and wider society.
"Our social workers and all staff working on the improvements are doing great work to tackle historic problems with the service, and deliver modern ways of delivering services with our partners. There is still much work to do to make a lasting change in Tower Hamlets but this is good news, and I am proud of our staff, and those who have supported us."
Cllr Danny Hassell, Cabinet member for Children, Schools and Young People said: "Since the last Ofsted inspection, we have continued our concerted efforts to deliver our ambitious improvement plan and put children and young people at the heart of all that we do, across the work of the council and our partners.
"Of course there is more to do and we are not complacent about the future challenges, but we are going in the right direction.
"I would like to extend my thanks to all our staff working with children and families in the borough for their ongoing commitment and care. We are focusing on recruiting more permanent staff and will be introducing further incentives to recruit and develop highly skilled social workers."
Posted on Tuesday 29th May 2018