Significant improvements in the quality of social work practice for children in Brent since the last Ofsted inspection have been highlighted by the inspectorate.
The care for children and care leavers is outstanding, Ofsted said, adding that firm foundations are now in place to facilitate and enable good or better social work to flourish.
“Senior leaders recognise and prioritise the needs of children and young people,” said the report. “They focus their attention on the things that matter and inspire staff to perform well.”
Brent children’s services was rated as ‘good’ for overall effectiveness, while the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers was rated ‘outstanding,’ the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families was rated as ‘good’ and ‘the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection’ was rated as ‘requiring improvement’.
In relation to child protection, the report highlighted that:
The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers is outstanding and inspectors highlighted:
The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families is good. The report noted:
“Since the last inspection, considerable investment and attention has been given to creating the foundations and structures for children’s services to improve,” the report concluded.
Ofsted recommends that Brent children’s services prioritises the response when children and young people go missing from school.
Escalation to pre-proceedings where children’s circumstances do not improve quickly enough, including the application of statutory guidance in kinship placements and Brent should focus on this to improve. Furthermore, procedures should always follow statutory guidance and comply with the council’s own policies.
The quality of case recording and supervision, for example the quality of recording by the local authority designated officer and supervision records for the children with disabilities team also needs strengthening.
Cllr Mili Patel, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care, said: “As a council we are one hundred per cent committed to ensuring that every young person in Brent has the best start in life possible, and this report, together with Brent’s highest-ever Ofsted rating, is testament to what we have achieved in recent years.
“We have already started addressing the areas identified by for improvement and I am wholly confident that further progress will continue to be made in the coming months.”
Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.
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