Ofsted children’s services report published

Published: 20 July 2018

The latest Ofsted report into Wandsworth Council’s children’s services has concluded that the department is improving and is no longer classed as inadequate.

The report follows a recent full inspection and highlights the fact that “senior leaders have worked diligently to strengthen the quality of children’s services” with “a good range of accessible services to improve outcomes for children and their families.”

Councillor Sarah McDermott, the cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This report clearly shows that children’s services are moving in the right direction and I would like to thank staff for their dedication and hard work in helping improve the work of the department.

“The support and protection of our children and young people is vital to this borough and it is so important that we can now say with confidence that children in Wandsworth are safe, that the quality of help and support provided to children and families has improved and that the department no longer needs outside intervention.”

While the council still requires further improvement before it can be given a good rating, the report highlights many positives, namely:

  • Children in need of help and protection are now identified quickly, and support for them is effective in reducing risks.
  • Disabled children receive a good social work service, and services to care leavers have improved from inadequate to good.
  • The strategic partnership response to child exploitation and to those children who go missing is well established and identifies those children at risk, with comprehensive safety plans in place for those children. 
  • Children and families have access to timely early help support, with the range of early help services strengthened.
  • Children in care live in safe, good-quality homes with committed carers who are able to meet their needs.
  • Children are well supported by a range of specialist services, achieve well at school and regularly see their social worker.

The report also praises the work that children’s services has done with CLICK (Children Living in Care Kouncil) who are made up of young people aged 6-18 and are looked after by Wandsworth Council.

They represent and speak up on behalf of looked after children to make a difference, positively influence decision making and help shape the services they receive.

The report states: “The children and young people who met with inspectors were committed and articulate and were positive role models for all children. They value the regular meetings with strategic leaders, who listen to their views and act on their behalf. The range and reach of CLICK work demonstrate notable and sustained achievements.”

Councillor McDermott added: “These are all really good outcomes but as the council recognised in its own self-assessment there is still more to do in securing best practice, particularly in the areas of child exploitation, securing permanent family arrangements for children coming into care and taking more account of some children’s views when we are working with them.

“Our top priority is to recruit and retain the best staff and the authority continues to work to attract and employ the right people.

“We have over 140 social workers in Wandsworth, a number of whom are agency workers, and we are constantly striving to establish consistency in this area.”

The Ofsted report has listed a series of recommendations to help the council achieve a good rating for its next full inspection in three years time and the local authority will now be working to implement those recommendations.