Children’s services in Camden upgraded to ‘outstanding’

Joe Lepper
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Ofsted inspectors have uplifted their rating for children’s services in Camden from “good” to “outstanding”, praising its focus on early help and building relationships with communities.

'The work will not stop here', council leaders have said. Picture: Camden Council
'The work will not stop here', council leaders have said. Picture: Camden Council

Inspectors visiting the London borough in April found that a focus on “relationships that value culture, identity and the uniqueness of each individual underpin social work practice in Camden”.

They also praised early help for families which helps them “to work things out for themselves and to stay together with a bright future”.

Early intervention is backed by “highly effective” partnerships that focus on “prevention rather than intervention”, inspectors found.

When issues are identified the council’s leaders “respond quickly with services that are designed by and with the community”, according to Ofsted’s report following its inspection.

Incidents of knife crime have fallen because of this approach, inspectors found.

Work to tackle child exploitation and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on families has also benefitted from Camden’s focus on prevention and involving the community to develop support.

When Camden was last inspected in 2017, under a previous rating system, its children’s services received a “good” rating for overall performance, as well as for its work to protect children and support those with experience of care. At that time only its leadership and adoption support were graded as “outstanding”.

Following their visit earlier this year, inspectors have handed the department its highest rating for overall effectiveness, support for children in care and care leavers as well as the impact of its leadership on social work practice. Meanwhile, child protection support’s rating remains “good”.

The “high aspirations for the future” among children in care “regardless of the complexity” of their needs, is also noted by inspectors.

This is backed by an independence programme for children in care and an “unerring focus on educational provision” that “gives children a solid base from which to follow their ambitions and interests”, said inspectors.

“This judgement is a significant achievement and a testament to the hard work of Camden’s leadership team, managers and frontline staff, the wider council and safeguarding partners,” added Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s national director for regulation and social care.

Inspectors also praised specialist support at Camden, which is deployed “without delay”, to help children manage anxieties and trauma.

“I’m incredibly proud of the outcome of this inspection which is testament to our staff who work hard to make a real difference for children and young people who need our help and support across Camden,” said Martin Pratt, the council’s statutory director of children’s services and executive director of supporting people.

“The work will not stop here. We will build on what we’ve achieved so far and make further improvements to ensure we can continue to deliver the very best services for our children, young people as well as their carers and families.” 







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