Croydon has taken immediate action to improve its Children’s Services after an Ofsted inspection rated some areas of the service inadequate.
The council accepts the findings and is working with Ofsted to make the necessary changes needed to deliver better services for children and young people in the borough.
Ofsted recognised that Croydon was improving standards but that it had not acted quickly enough for the changes made to have an impact.
The council is addressing all the issues raised as a priority. It has already invested further funding to help support and modernise working practices for all its children’s social workers and frontline staff.
A recruitment drive is launching to bring in more social workers, an extra social work team has been created to reduce workloads, and a new social care director appointed.
An improvement board, with an independent chair, has been set up by the chief executive to oversee the delivery of the improvement programme and the council continues to work with Ofsted on an action plan.
Ofsted completed an inspection of Children’s Services between 19 June and 13 July. Its report can found here.
Barbara Peacock, executive director of people, said: “We accept the findings of this report and are committed to making sure that we provide better support for our children and young people. I’m sorry that our services have not been good enough.
“We identified the need for improvements last year but despite working extremely hard to make these necessary changes, they have not delivered the impact we wanted.
“The report has shown the extent of work that is needed. Much of this work is already under way but we recognise there is a lot more to do and we are working with Ofsted to create an improvement plan to drive through those changes.
“So that we and residents can feel reassured about the safety of all the young people we are involved with we are reviewing cases and are taking immediate action where we do find issues to address.”
Cllr Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “The care and safety of vulnerable children and young people is an absolute priority for this council and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that we are providing them with the high-quality services that they deserve.
“I’m disappointed that changes made over the past year have not delivered the quality of service we want for our children. We are determined to put this right as soon as possible by increasing the pace of change.
“We have some excellent social workers who do an incredibly difficult job against a backdrop of challenging circumstances here in Croydon, as well as a national shortfall in funding. I want to make sure that they are supported to do the very best they can for the children that need our help and protection.
“We are committed to working with staff, partners and residents to deliver the very best services for children. I will do everything I can to ensure the right support is available to accelerate the pace of improvement and make sure that our children and young people are at the centre of everything we do.”
Improvements made since the inspection
• Set up an immediate action plan and improvement team
• Set up an improvement board with an independent chair to oversee changes
• Commissioned Achieving for Children as an independent improvement partner to support our action plan
• Commissioned the LGA to provide improvement support
• Sharing learning and experience with other local authorities
• Appointed a new interim Director of Early Help and Children’s Social care
• Launched a recruitment drive, with three social workers and a unit manager already employed
• Roll out of improved IT and smartphones to all social workers
• Reviewed cases and taken action where needed
• Strengthened processes around missing children
• Reviewed case loads
• Established an extra interim social work team to help reduce workloads
Read our FAQs on the findings here