William Eichler 27 August 2019

Commissioner appointed to oversee council’s ‘inadequate’ children’s services

Commissioner appointed to oversee council’s ‘inadequate’ children’s services  image

The Government has appointed a commissioner to improve Medway Council’s children’s services after Ofsted rated them ‘inadequate’.

The secretary of state for education Gavin Williamson has appointed Eleanor Brazil as commissioner for children’s services at the Kent local authority.

He said that the Ofsted inspection in July had satisfied him that the council was ‘failing to perform to an adequate standard’.

In response, Medway Council said they ‘fully accept’ all the areas of improvement proposed by the inspectors – although the council leader Alan Jarrett said he was ‘surprised’ by Ofsted’s judgement.

‘Medway has come a long way over the years and residents remain at the heart of everything we do, so this news is hugely disappointing,’ said Cllr Jarrett.

‘I am particularly surprised by this outcome as we have invested significant additional resources within the service and carried out extensive preparation in readiness for the inspection, so I was led to believe that we would retain or improve our previous grading.’

Medway Council said they had ‘already started’ to address the feedback in the Ofsted report by appointing eight new social workers and improving the process for reviewing each case.

A new improvement action plan is also being created that will be published in the autumn.

‘Supporting our most vulnerable residents remains a top priority and I will ensure that we continue to act with urgency on the recommendations made by Ofsted to ensure that Medway’s children in need of help and protection receive the service they deserve,’ Cllr Jarrett added.

Cllr Jarrett noted that part of the problem was the financial pressures that councils are currently facing.

‘It is no secret that local authorities continue to face severe financial challenges,’ he said.

‘Despite this, I outlined Medway’s commitment to prioritising our support for young people during the last budget setting meeting in February when I allocated a further £2.6m to children’s services, in recognition of demographic pressures facing the service and to increase the number of our social workers to alleviate pressures on caseloads.

‘The children’s social care budget is around £36m this year, up by £4.5m since 2017/18. This is helping to further enhance the support we are able to provide to children living in care.’

An analysis published today by the Local Government Association has revealed that the combination of funding shortages and demand pressures forced councils to overspend on their children’s social care budgets by nearly £800m last year.

Redefining what good looks like image

Redefining what good looks like

Impower’s annual top 10 list is a celebration of strong council performance, and as Jon Ainger explains, many local authorities have stepped up to the challenge.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Head of the Gloucestershire Pension Fund

Gloucestershire County Council
up to £71,376
Give your time and talent for the people who gave us theirs. Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Head of Quality, Performance and Systems

Norfolk County Council
£65,817 - £73,638 per annum
Children’s Services in Norfolk are on a rapid upward trajectory. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Social Worker - Youth Offending Team

Essex County Council
Negotiable
This post is based in Epping Please ensure you provide a supporting statement when applying for this role. We cannot accept any applications without England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

SEND 16-25 Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
An exciting opportunity has become available in a busy Special Educational Needs team. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine