Swift action from Croydon Council has already resulted in some significant improvements in children’s social care, with an ‘effective infrastructure’ established in a ‘relatively short period of time’, Ofsted has found.
At a monitoring visit carried out in March, six months after Croydon’s Ofsted judgement last September, inspectors recognised that the council’s leadership has ‘acted swiftly’ to achieve some significant changes.
Feedback from the visit – the second of eight that children’s services will receive during its improvement journey – has been published today and can be viewed on Ofsted’s website.
Inspectors commended senior leaders’ and managers’ ‘sound understanding of what needs to change’ and their ‘appropriate focus on the priority areas’. They noted the council’s ‘significant investment’.
Ofsted also praised Croydon’s frontline social workers for the quality of their work, which ‘consistently impressed’ inspectors. Inspectors highlighted their commitment to engaging with the children they work with and felt they were ‘compassionate, while being firm and clear about expectations’.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“We’re pleased that Ofsted feel we’re progressing well with improving children’s services. I and the rest of the council’s leadership have made this a top priority and it’s good to hear that the action we’ve taken is already working to make things better.
“However, we’re by no means complacent. We’re still at a very early stage in our improvement journey and there’s much to be done to ensure we offer every child and young person the high-quality service we’re determined they’ll have. We’ll maintain our focus, putting the children and families we serve at the heart of everything we do.
“I’m particularly pleased Ofsted praised our frontline social workers for the way they help children and families every day, in often challenging conditions. Their commitment and hard work is very much valued.”
Ofsted’s visit focused on children’s services work with vulnerable adolescents, looking at their experiences across the range of children’s services including children in need, child protection and looked-after children.
Also this week, Croydon Council’s plans for working in partnership with Camden while improving children’s social care have been given the green light by the Department for Education (DfE).
In a Statutory Direction published yesterday, the Secretary of State for Education approved the peer support proposal developed between the two local authorities, formalising the relationship and setting out how they will work together during Croydon’s improvement journey.
Under the terms of the agreement, senior managers from Camden Council’s children’s social care service will provide peer mentoring support to their counterparts at Croydon throughout the two years. Camden – a DfE-approved Partner in Practice – will provide advice and support around priority areas, such as the development of Croydon’s recently launched Single Point of Contact for social care.
The DfE decision is based on positive feedback from Eleanor Brazil, the Children’s Services Commissioner appointed to monitor and review Croydon’s improvement progress. With this direction, Ms Brazil’s role as DfE commissioner in Croydon comes to an end. Croydon’s Children’s Services Improvement Board will continue to oversee the improvement journey, with Ofsted carrying out quarterly monitoring visits, while the DfE reviews progress at six-monthly intervals.
Councillor Newman said: “We’re pleased that the commissioner, Eleanor Brazil, and the DfE continue to demonstrate their confidence in us and in the peer support proposal we’ve developed with Camden. We have a strong partnership and look forward to continuing to work with them.
“I also want to thank Eleanor for her guidance and support – she’s been hugely important on our journey to date and, as her role as commissioner ends, we’re in a strong positon with a clear direction of travel.”