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Ofsted Reports - April 2019

A summary of the Ofsted inspection reports of children's services published during April.

Barking and Dagenham requires improvement

Services for children in Barking and Dagenham require improvement, as was the case at the last inspection in 2014, Ofsted has said.

However, the recently appointed director of children’s services, together with her senior team, has appropriately prioritised services for children most at risk.

“Strong and effective senior leadership is resulting in tangible improvements to both the quality and impact of social work practice. Until recently, too many children had experienced delays and ineffective plans as a result of high caseloads and inconsistent management oversight of practice,” said the report.

“Decisive action to address these concerns and reconfigure teams, underpinned by rigorous performance management, is now making a discernible difference. The pace of change in the last six months has accelerated, and corporate parenting arrangements are being reinvigorated,” it added.

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Improvements in social work practice evident at Tower Hamlets

Effective action has been taken by leaders and managers at Tower Hamlets following the previous inspection and subsequent monitoring visits, Ofsted has said.

This has led to suitable improvements in the quality of social work practice for children in need of help and protection, the the sixth and final monitoring visit since the local authority was judged inadequate for overall effectiveness in April 2017 found.

“Children at risk of immediate harm are responded to quickly. Strategy discussions take place promptly and result in appropriate outcomes. Thresholds are well embedded and are applied consistently in most cases, resulting in proportionate action to protect children. This is a significant improvement; previously too many children waited too long in harmful situations without adequate help and protection,” said the report.

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Vulnerable adolescents receive good service in Kingston

Most vulnerable adolescents in Kingston-upon-Thames receive a good service from skilled and enthusiastic social workers, Ofsted has reported.

Social workers and other professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the range of risks that young people encounter from outside the family, and take appropriate action to reduce those risks, Ofsted said.

“Links between children and young people’s experiences of neglect and domestic abuse within the family and the increased vulnerability to exploitation are well understood,” said the report. “Responses are appropriately prioritised, and children and young people benefit from specialist, accessible and well-resourced help and protection.”

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Rotherham makes progress for children needing permanence

Children looked after by Rotherham Borough Council who need permanence in their lives are receiving a strong service, Ofsted has said.

The inspectorate found evidence of progress since the last inspection in 2017, when services for children looked after were judged to require improvement in Rotherham.

“Effective strategic planning by senior leaders has significantly improved permanence planning for children in care in a coherent and sustainable fashion. Senior leaders have successfully made use of the council’s existing strengths, such as performance reporting, together with increased management oversight of children’s individual circumstances, to achieve sustained improvement,” said the report.

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Ofsted rates Enfield ‘good’

Senior leaders at Enfield, with strong corporate and cross-party political support, have worked effectively to strengthen and improve service provision, Ofsted has reported.

Prior to the last focused visit in September 2018, senior leaders had appropriately identified capacity issues and high caseloads in some aspects of the service and had agreed additional staffing.

Prompt recruitment activity, underpinned by significant investment, has been made to address the capacity issues and improve the quality of practice in the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) and frontline teams.

“Practice lead positions introduced in the autumn of 2018 are improving services and the skills and knowledge of frontline staff and managers effectively,” said the report.

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Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

More court days for family cases this year despite restrictions

26/11/2020

There have been more court sitting days taking place on family cases this year than in any previous year, despite the lockdown, the president of the family courts division has said.

In his ‘View from the Chambers,’ Andrew McFarlane said this level of activity is necessary as it is not possible to conduct as many cases [...]

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Half of Youth Offending Services require improvement

25/11/2020

Improvements are required in more than half of the Youth Offending Services inspected this year, according to the HM Inspectorate of Probation.

Of the 16 Youth Offending Services inspected, eight required improvement while one, Cardiff, was rated inadequate.

Chief Inspector Justin Russell said: “It is disappointing that the overall quality of the youth offending services we have [...]

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Highest number of children’s homes registered could be in response to COVID

25/11/2020

The highest number of children’s homes were registered by Ofsted between April and August, potentially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ofsted registered 176 new children’s homes between 1 April and 31 August, the highest number recorded in that period. This follows a continued increase in registrations year on year since at least 2015 and a [...]

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