How we’re improving our services
We are already making big changes to improve children’s services. Our 2019/20 budget, agreed by the Council last month, includes the biggest investment in Newham’s children’s services in a generation, with £10.6m for children’s services’, £1.4m for youth services, and £1.3m for special education provision. This is on top of additional in-year allocation of £10.6m for children services alongside £172,000 for those most vulnerable that Mayor Fiaz approved soon after she stepped into office in May 2018.
We are also taking immediate action to tackle the other issues highlighted by Ofsted, and we have a robust improvement plan. The Ofsted report acknowledges our increased investment and that political and corporate support has been strengthened, and we are determined to build on this.
A number of urgent improvements are already under way, including:
- A robust service improvement plan, which will be monitored by a Safeguarding Improvement Board
- Bringing in new senior managers in key positions, including a new Director of Operations of Children’s Social Care and Safeguarding
- Stepping up senior managers’ interactions with social workers to ensure frontline staff are listened to
- Creating more opportunities for children to participate in the planning of their care and influence service development
- Improved quality and timeliness of social work assessments
- Improved quality and effectiveness of safety planning for children at risk of exploitation.
Further improvements will include:
- Greater oversight of improvements by the Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, Cabinet, Council and Overview and Scrutiny
- Additional support and training for social workers where needed
- Using examples of best practice to help staff understand what “good” looks like
- More training for managers
- Introducing a planned review schedule for every child in need
- A commitment to doing more to hear the views of children and families in improving services
- A proposed new corporate structure to bring greater leadership and capacity in children’s services, including two proposed new roles - a Children and Young People’s Commissioner and a Director for Children and Young People - that will ensure the voice and ambitions of young people are reflected across all council services.
An apology from Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has apologised to residents, and in particular to Newham’s young people, for the failings highlighted in the Ofsted report, and for under-investment in the service under a previous administration.