Ofsted’s final monitoring visit to Tower Hamlets noted significant improvement in the council’s Children’s Services, while advising that there is work to do ahead of its full inspection later this year.
Overall they felt that effective action by leaders had led to improvements in the quality of care for children needing help and protection. Inspectors also reported significant improvements in the speed of discussions and decision making to protect vulnerable and neglected children.
Inspectors published their report on 11 April 2019 after their monitoring visit to the council on 19 and 20 March 2019. It was their sixth and final visit since the council was judged inadequate for overall effectiveness in April 2017.
A full inspection will take place by Autumn 2019.
Ofsted specifically noted:
• “Huge improvement” in prioritising children in need via multi-agency reviews
• Rigorous performance management is now well embedded within the service
• Effective planning is in place in response to knife crime issues
Ofsted also reported that greater consistency was needed in the quality of assessments for some children at risk of harm. Inspectors advised that continued work is needed in to help those children who have had a history of long term neglect.
Mayor John Biggs said: “I take encouragement that Ofsted inspectors found further improvements in the level of care and planning for our most vulnerable children.
"We have set a high bar to move from an inadequate rating to good in just over two years. There is work to do and we will maintain a relentless focus on what Ofsted have advised in order to be ready for our full inspection this autumn.”
Cllr Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Young People, added: “Our improvement journey in the service has taken us a long way in a short time. But the journey continues, and we will concentrate heavily on the areas that Ofsted have told us need further attention and improvement.
"While our budget invested significantly in our services and our social workers, no one underestimates the hard work that we still have to complete before our final inspection.”
The council has set the ambitious target of achieving a ‘good’ rating in 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 has visited to monitor progress in one or more areas of the service.
The latest letter, sent from Ofsted to Debbie Jones, the council's Director of Children’s Services following the last Ofsted visit, is published on Ofsted’s website.
Posted on Thursday 11th April 2019