Children’s Services Review

Author: Brendan Steinhardt


The Children’s Commissioner for Barnet Council, Frankie Sulke, has completed her three-month review of Children’s Services.

Hendon Town Hall

Hendon Town Hall

Ms Sulke’s final report is in response to the Ofsted report in July 2017 that found children’s services to be inadequate.

The report concludes with a recommendation to the Minister of State for Children & Families that Barnet Council should retain control of children’s social care services, with Essex County Council acting as its improvement leadership partner to oversee the delivery of the council’s improvement plan for the service.  The report also recommends that further Commissioner advice be sought on whether alternative arrangements are necessary after the suggested model has been in operation for at least six months.
In response, the Minister of State for Children and Families has written to Barnet Council regarding the Commissioner’s report accepting this recommendation. In the letter, the Minister stated he was encouraged to hear that the initial Ofsted follow up visit had gone well and that Barnet Council was showing early signs of improvement.
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of the Children, Education, Libraries & Safeguarding Committee, said: “We welcome this report from the Children’s Commissioner. The safety and welfare of children and young people in Barnet is our number one priority and we accept that we have fallen short of the care they need and deserve. 
“We are pleased the report recommends that Barnet Council should retain control of children’s social care services, as well as highlighting how we have a committed and dedicated staff at every level of the organisation. We’re also encouraged to hear the Minister feels we are showing signs of improvement.
“At the same time, we are in no way complacent, and recognise that we still have a long way to go to bring our services up the standard that children and young people deserve. This is despite the best efforts of officers and the political leadership over the past 18 months.
“With that in mind, we welcome the recommendation that the leadership of the improvement programme should be led and directed by Essex Council – a local authority with a proven track record in practice improvement. We will continue to focus on delivering the comprehensive action plan we have in place and are absolutely committed to making the necessary improvements."