Inspectors praise sustained quality of child protection work in Camden

By Neil Puffett

| 11 June 2018

Ofsted has praised a continued commitment to sustain the quality of "front door" social work practice in Camden, following a visit to check on progress.

Children's services in Camden were judged to be "good" overall in November 2017. Picture: Camden Council

Camden Council was announced as one of eight new "partner in practice" councils earlier this year - local authorities deemed to be performing at an exceptional level that other councils can learn from. Its children's services were rated "good" overall, and "outstanding" in terms of leadership and adoption services, following its last full inspection, published in November 2017.

A focused visit by Ofsted to check on progress, looked at child protection arrangements, specifically contacts, referrals and decision- making within the multi-agency safeguarding hub (Mash). They also considered transfers to and from early help services, the effectiveness of child protection enquiries and the quality of assessments for children in need of help and protection.

Inspectors said there was strong corporate leadership to improve outcomes for children and families who are in need of help or protection.

"Since the previous inspection of children's services in 2017, there has been a continued commitment to sustain the quality of social work practice at the ‘front door'," a letter outlining the findings sates.

"Senior leaders know the service well, as evidenced within their recent self-evaluation. This knowledge is further informed through the use of relevant performance data. Inspectors found evidence of sound social work practice in the Mash as well as in the brief intervention team. The Mash works effectively to safeguard children."

Ofsted also found good engagement from partners, resulting in timely information sharing, the consistent application of thresholds, and an appropriately proportionate response for children and families needing help or support.

"In the cases audited, and in all work considered during this visit, inspectors found the local authority had acted appropriately to safeguard children and keep them safe," the letter states.

"Child protection concerns are quickly identified and lead to timely interventions to safeguard children and reduce risk."

However, inspectors did note some areas for improvement. They said that the quality of referrals from partner agencies in a small minority of cases did not make the level of professional concern sufficiently clear.

Meanwhile, again in a small minority of cases, supervision records were found not to provide sufficient clarity as to future actions required, particularly in relation to the timescales for the completion of actions.

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