Ofsted inspectors recognise ongoing improvement in Children's Services

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Ofsted’s latest visit to Tower Hamlets has praised the ongoing improvement in the council’s Children’s Services. Overall they felt that effective action taken by leaders and managers following the August monitoring visit has led to considerable improvements in the quality of social work practice for children in care.

Ofsted noted the “positive culture change” in the organisation since their last visit in August. They found that morale is good and effective action by managers and social workers including better tracking of progress in children in care had led to considerable improvements for children in care, including:

  • Health assessments and permanency planning are now more timely and delays are being minimised. 


  • ‘Better quality and suitable accommodation for care leavers being commissioned.’


  • ‘Performance management has been enhanced with the introduction of practice weeks.’


  • ‘Investment in training and additional resources (via the new Social Work Academy) are encouraging social workers to want to stay and to work in Tower Hamlets.’


Ofsted commented positively on the council’s Leaving Care Service and the developing ‘through-care’ service which is designed to better meet the needs of looked after children as they move towards adulthood.

Inspectors published their report on 17 January 2019 after their fifth visit to the council on 11 and 12 December 2018 with a focus on the quality of care planning for looked after children. Their final full inspection will take place by Autumn 2019.

The letter also outlines areas that need focused attention. They include a need to quickly progress plans to reconfigure the care leavers service towards through-care; a need to ensure that all children’s visits are purposeful and that direct work to help all children to understand their personal histories is routinely recorded on the child’s file.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “This is another encouraging letter from Ofsted. We have been both bold and ambitious in our aim of achieving ‘good’ at the next inspection.  Whilst it requires a significant further work, it reflects our commitment and aspiration to provide quality services for our children and their families.”

Councillor Danny Hassell, Cabinet for Children, Schools and Young People said: As ever, we remain committed to continuing this improvement journey.  Our services for children and families are now in a totally different position to when we were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2017.  However, we are not complacent and far more work still needs to be done.  We are refreshing our improvement plan to focus on these areas, investing the necessary funding in our budget proposals this year, and will continue to work with partners to improve our services. 



Good rating

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 visits to inspect progress in one or more areas of the service.

The latest letter sent from Ofsted to Debbie Jones, Tower Hamlets’ Director of Children’s Services following the last Ofsted visit is published on Ofsted’s  website.



For more information about this release contact the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Communications team on 020 7364 4389 or email communications@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Posted on Thursday 17th January 2019