Newham Council’s Children’s Services are improving, a new inspection by Ofsted has noted.
In a report published today (19 October), inspectors found services for children in care and care leavers are improving, with managers having ‘…a clear understanding of the areas where improvement is necessary with robust and realistic plans to address them’.
The two day inspection took place in September and reviewed progress since a 2019 inspection rated Children’s Services ‘inadequate’. Since then, significant changes have been made including the biggest investment in the service for a generation.
The visit was conducted entirely on site at Newham Dockside, taking into account relevant Covid-19 safety measures with inspectors speaking to a range of staff, including managers and social workers, several children and foster carers.
Some of the observations in the report include:
- The voices of children in decisions made for the future are increasingly noticeable and this has been against a context of the severe and ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Newham
- Care plans are detailed with a good focus on the needs of children and foster carers said they feel supported and supervised by their own social workers.
- The vast majority of care leavers are in suitable accommodation consistent with their needs. The council has a strong commitment to staying-put arrangements with some care leavers living with their foster families into their mid-20s
- A more stable, permanent management team has helped staff understand the organisation’s vision and clear expectations in relation to practice standards. Senior managers have taken opportunities to meet with children, young people and staff and this has enabled relationships to build and children and young people to express their views in a relaxed environment.
Councillor Sarah Ruiz, lead member for Education and Children Social Care said: “I am really encouraged by the findings made by the inspectors and I am pleased they have acknowledged the significant improvements made to the service which are already making a real difference to our children and young people in the borough. Our aim is to deliver a first class service to our young people and this report shows we are on the right track to achieve that. I look forward to welcoming the inspectors back next year so we can show how we have improved even further following their recommendations.”
Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “Nothing is more important than our young people and that’s why we have invested more than £36 million in services for young people since 2018, increasing the budget by 33 per cent and increasing the number of youth workers from three to 43.
“A big factor in our previous inadequate rating by Ofsted was prior to 2018 the council did not invest nearly enough in making our young people safe. I am determined that our young people get the support they deserve.”