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Tower Hamlets' children's service rated Good by Ofsted two year after Inadequate rating

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 July 2019

L-R: Cllr Danny Hassell, Mayor John Biggs, Richard Baldwin, Debbie Jones, Will Tuckley and children from Manorfield Primary in Poplar celebrated the news from Ofsted. Picture: Kois Miah

L-R: Cllr Danny Hassell, Mayor John Biggs, Richard Baldwin, Debbie Jones, Will Tuckley and children from Manorfield Primary in Poplar celebrated the news from Ofsted. Picture: Kois Miah

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Ofsted has rated a council's children's service as good, two years after it was given an inadequate rating.

The watchdog praised staff at Tower Hamlets Council for making "remarkable progress" after the local authority set itself the target of improving its rating following an inspection in 2017.

John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: "I am delighted. When I was first elected we inherited significant problems.

"I want to pay tribute to our staff and our partners who have been relentless in their focus to turn the service around. It has been a monumental effort to do it in just over two years."

Following the Inadequate rating, the council created an improvement plan agreed by the Department for Education and overseen by an independently chaired improvement board.

In its report, published on Monday, July 22, following a full inspection last month, Ofsted found that children and families receive good help when they need it, especially those who are most vulnerable.

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Children in care and care leavers are also given the best chance in life to succeed; with caseloads described as manageable and staff commended as "knowledgeable" and "supportive".

Ofsted said: "Leaders and managers have had a relentless focus to improve practice to deliver good experiences and progress for children and their families."

The report calls for improvements to plans put in place for children across the family support and protection teams as well as for youngsters returning to their families after being in care.

It also calls for better oversight in response to allegations made against staff.

Debbie Jones, corporate director, children and culture said: "We will not be complacent after our good rating. In fact, this is another step on our road to outstanding."

The council set up a social work academy to tackle a shortage of social workers in December. In April 2017 the average caseload was more than 25 children per social worker. By May 2019 this had dropped to 16.

Will Tuckley, the council's chief executive, said: "Our ambition is nothing less than to become a leading local authority and achieve the best we can for residents and businesses."

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