Ofsted tells council to improve children's services

Neil Puffett
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A council's children's services department has been rated as "requires improvement" by Ofsted after inspectors found a number of areas that need to be addressed.

Although inspectors rating standards at Luton Borough Council said no children were at immediate risk of significant harm, they identified a number of issues including delays in the start and completion of assessments.

Meanwhile people chairing child protection conferences were found to not consistently be providing the right level of critical challenge.

In addition to this, child protection plans were not sufficiently child-centred, focused on outcomes, specific or measurable. However, partner agencies were found to work well together to safeguard and protect the children and young people and information was being shared effectively.

"Senior managers and leaders recognise that the help and support that children and families receive is not good enough,” the inspection report states.

“They have spent most of the last 12 months putting in place the systems, structures and processes needed to address the shortcomings and deliver sustainable improvements. More work is required before services for children can be considered good.”

Luton was previously rated "good" for safeguarding and looked-after children services following an inspection in March 2012.

Mahmood Hussain, lead member for children and young people at Luton Council, said: “We welcome the report and believe it is a fair and balanced assessment of the services we provide to children, young people and families.

“The help and support children and families are receiving is improving, as acknowledged by Ofsted, however we fully recognise the areas where more work needs to be done to enable us to deliver a service that children and young people in Luton need and deserve.

“Over the past year we have developed new systems, structures and processes to further improve the service, and the inspector recognised this had achieved sustainable improvements.

“We were particularly pleased that the experience and progress of care leavers was rated as good by inspectors. The council, working with its partners, is helping young people leaving care to successfully move into adulthood. Ofsted noted care leavers had described the support they received as ‘brilliant’.”

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