OFSTED completed an inspection of Children’s Services and a review of the effectiveness of the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board between 25 April and 18 May 2017.
Hendon Town Hall
Today the report has been published with an overall judgement of inadequate. The full report can be found here.
A council report detailing our response to the inspection and our action plan for improvement is due to be presented to the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding (CELS) Committee on 18 July where it will be discussed by members. You can read the full report here.
Chris Munday, Strategic Director for Children and Young People, said: “We fully accept the findings of the report and are committed to taking further action to ensure better support for children and young people in Barnet. The need for systemic improvement across the service was identified by us and we have been working extremely hard to implement necessary changes, but these have not yet had the impact that is needed.
“There is no place for poor standards in Barnet and I am sorry that our services haven’t been good enough for children and young people. It is our responsibility to ensure that our staff are supported and given the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and meet quality standards.
“We have undertaken a root and branch review of services and changes have been made to put children at the heart of what we do. There are new Practice Leaders in place. Caseloads for social workers have also reduced so we can improve quality and remove poor practice.
“Fundamental change of this nature can take time, but we are determined to make the necessary improvements at pace and our action plan sets that out. Safeguarding and protecting vulnerable children will always be our number one priority.”
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Committee Chairman for Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said: “Protecting vulnerable children and young people is a priority for this council and I have made it clear that we must do whatever it takes to bring services up to the standards we want. Our role as corporate parents and safeguarding our children and young people comes with responsibilities that all councillors must take extremely seriously. There has been a £3.8million investment committed to service improvement over the last year to ensure we have the resources we need.
“Whilst progress has been made, it is clear that the inspection shows that we have not yet done enough to improve our services for children and young people. However, I am glad that the report also recognises that we are going in the right direction and the work in some areas, such as support for care leavers and adoption services. We will be working closely with a Commissioner from the Department for Education over the coming months as we continue to deliver our action plan and regular progress reports will be published and discussed at Committee.
“Our social care staff work incredibly hard in challenging circumstances and both the Director of Children and Young People and I are committed to ensuring that there is the right support in place to accelerate the pace of improvement, so we can better support our children and young people.”