Children’s services in Tower Hamlets are ‘significantly improving’

Tower Hamlets Council's children's service is improving. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets Council's children's service is improving. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets Council’s children services are “significantly improving” a year after a damning Ofsted report deemed them “inadequate”.

Last year, inspectors revealed they had found “widespread and serious failures” in services protecting children from the borough.

The report stated “too many children remain in situations of actual or potential harm for too long” and some staff displayed a “lack of understanding” of their duties.

But in Ofsted’s most recent monitoring visit, inspectors endorsed the steps the council was taking to improve its services for children, families and young people.

In the report inspectors noted that there were substantial improvements to the quality of social work for vulnerable adolescents and in identifying and tackling child exploitation.

Inspector Brenda McLaughlin said: “This is extremely encouraging given the particularly complex challenges involved in this work.”

Since June last year Ofsted has visited the borough every quarter to check on improvements, and this is the third monitoring report.

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The council is hoping to gain a “good” rating by 2019.

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said: “The council is improving its children’s services at a rapid rate.

“The fact that we have had three positive visits since our improvement plan was agreed with the Department for Education last year shows we are on the right track. But I don’t take that for granted and we remain unremittingly focused on keeping that way.

“This visit focused on particularly challenging areas around vulnerable young people. Our service has to be in good shape to identify these issues before they become problems for our young people and wider society.

“There is still much work to do to make a lasting change but this is good news, and I am proud of our staff, and those who have supported us.”

Councillor Danny Hassell, cabinet member for children, schools and young people, added: “Of course there is more to do and we are not complacent about the future challenges, but we are going in the right direction.

“We are focusing on recruiting more permanent staff and will be introducing further incentives to recruit and develop highly skilled social workers.”