London council’s children’s services rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted
Camden Council’s children’s services have been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for overall effectiveness, with special mentions for their early help and care leaver support.
The report, published this week following a visit by Ofsted inspectors in April, scored the overall effectiveness of the Council’s children’s service as ‘outstanding’ - the highest score that can be achieved.
Ofsted found that children and young people in Camden are not only well protected against harm and abuse – with early help services also playing an important role in picking up issues before they become worse - but children in care and care leavers are listened to and given a wide range of opportunities to progress and thrive.
The judgement comes after a visit to Camden Children’s Services in April this year. It found that practitioners and senior leaders identify potential harm and respond quickly with services that are designed by and with the community. Inspectors said this approach has been ‘highly effective’ in reducing incidents of knife crime and violence.
The council’s offer to care leavers was also praised, with inspectors noting that: “Corporate parenting for children in care and care leavers is taken extremely seriously, with leaders at all levels ensuring that they listen directly to children and reach out to key businesses and services in the borough to achieve good routes into gainful education and employment.”
Children’s social workers also said they were ‘proud’ to work for the Council, with inspectors noting that practitioners ‘feel very well supported and enjoy working in Camden’.
In the report, inspectors praised senior leaders, saying that ‘leaders pre-empt rather than react’ and ‘corporate decision making is dynamic, informed and shaped by children and families at all levels of the organisation.’
Ofsted also made a reference to Camden’s response to the refugee crisis in Afghanistan saying, ‘the concerted and agile response to the sudden influx of people from Afghanistan seeking asylum was particularly impressive and involved key partners from both inside and outside the borough.’
Inspectors also paid tribute to senior leaders for their “inspirational” work throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today’s report highlights how social work practice in Camden is underpinned by relationships that value culture, identity and the uniqueness of individuals,” said Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s National Director for Regulation and Social Care. “I was particularly pleased to read about the effective work of partnerships, which exemplify a focus on prevention rather than intervention.”
“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.”
Martin Pratt, Camden Council’s Executive Director of Supporting People welcomed the report, saying: “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 – congratulations and thanks to all.”
“This is an incredible result, but 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.”
Read the full Ofsted report: https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50186251
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