Mike reports on the Ofsted inspection of child protection services in Medway

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News from the Medway Council website:

In January Medway Council had an unannounced inspection of its child protection services by Ofsted. The inspection found the council’s services in this area to be inadequate.

Since the council’s last safeguarding inspection in 2011, Ofsted has introduced a more rigorous test and the pace of Medway Council’s ongoing improvements have not yet met these new standards.

It is important to emphasise that Ofsted’s inspectors were very clear that no children were found to be at immediate risk of harm in Medway. The report also recognises the improvements that the council has already started to introduce, including appointing a new director who has a record of rapidly turning around children’s services at another council.

See a video response from the Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Cllr Les Wicks, and the Director of Children and Adults Services, Barbara Peacock.

In its summary, the report states a number of areas rated as good or adequate:

  • People and different services who work with children and families are passionate about their job and that any child at immediate risk is protected from harm by their social worker and other services.
  • Children and families who find life difficult and ask for help are put in touch with services that make real differences to their lives.
  • The new senior managers who run Medway Council’s Children’s Services are very clear about the changes they need to make and know the pace of improvement has been too slow.

It also lists areas that need improving, which are:

  • Procedures are not always followed and that some children are not protected as well as they should be, or quickly enough.
  • Decision making in the service needs to improve to ensure help and protection is offered to children and families at the right time and the way cases are closed – in some cases too early – needs to be reviewed.
  • Decision-making needs to be based on clear and accurate plans and assessments.
  • Recruitment of more permanent social workers needs to be enhanced to reduce the changes children and families face.

Cllr Les Wicks, Portfolio Holder for Children Services, has apologised, and confirmed that the council’s new director is bringing about a fast pace of change to address the priorities for improvement.

He said: “I would like to unreservedly apologise to the people of Medway – our children and families – for our failure to deliver the children’s safeguarding service that our children and young people in Medway deserve. The situation is not good enough and is not acceptable.

“Early last year it was clear to me as the lead member for children’s services that we were not improving fast enough to meet the standards that children in Medway deserved.

“Things needed to change faster and that is why in June last year we appointed Barbara Peacock as our new Director of Children’s and Adults Services. Barbara joined in September 2012 with a track record of delivering improvement in underperforming social care teams.

“Since then, we have completed a thorough review of the whole children’s safeguarding area and in late 2012 we instigated a major programme of change that was already starting to address the weaknesses identified by Ofsted’s inspection in January.

“We still have much to do, but are committed to working with our partners to protect children at risk in Medway.”

Barbara Peacock, Director of Children and Adult Services, said: “We wholly accept the findings in today’s Ofsted report.

“The inspectors have highlighted that Medway has committed and conscientious social workers and our improvement plan builds on that commitment to their work.

“Ofsted has recognised that we already have a comprehensive improvement plan and we are already making rapid progress in delivering those improvements.”

View the Ofsted report.

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One Response to “Mike reports on the Ofsted inspection of child protection services in Medway”

  1. Mike reports on the Ofsted inspection of child protection services in Medway | News articles on social services | Scoop.it Says:

    […] News from the Medway Council website: In January Medway Council had an unannounced inspection of its child protection services by Ofsted. The inspection found the council's services in this area to…  […]

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