'Children's Services In Wandsworth Are Inadequate'

Ofsted report finds serious failings and requires action

Overall services in Wandsworth for children in need of help and protection, and services for looked-after children, are 'inadequate' concluded Ofsted in a report released today (February 16th).

Ofsted inspectors also reviewed Wandsworth's Local Safeguarding Board and judged it as 'requires improvement'.

The inspection took place from November to December 2015. It summarised that 'the standard of social work practice for children and young people and the quality of leadership, management and governance have declined since children's services in Wandsworth were last inspected in 2012'.

Kathy TraceyCabinet Member for Children's Services at Wandsworth Council, Kathy Tracey, said, "I am very sorry that these important services have not been good enough and we are now entirely focused on improving standards as quickly as possible. We have already begun this journey by making significant changes to our senior management team and strengthening our procedures based on clear advice from the inspectors."

"A detailed short and long term action plan has been developed which will be rigorously scrutinised by councillors of all parties and independent experts who can help us get to the core of the issues raised. It will not be a quick and easy fix but Ofsted have expressed confidence in our response to their findings and we will put this right."

She also went on to point out that "Ofsted's new inspection regime has raised the bar for local authorities and it's absolutely right that it should be a far tougher test."

Today's report detailed the areas in which the services for children and young people were not good enough and needed to get 'much better', but also pointed out positive reports from struggling parents and commented on the good care given by the best social workers.

Dawn Warwick, Wandsworth's Director of Children's Services, said, "We accept the report has found unacceptable shortcomings which we are now addressing from top to bottom."

Following the restructuring of senior management and immediate review of 'front door' services where children are referred to the Council if there is concern, there will now be a re-examination of existing and recently closed cases.

The Council ia also required to agree an action plan for quickly improving services, which must be approved by Ofsted and must be sustainable.

February 17, 2016