A year since Ofsted reported that Croydon Council’s children’s services were inadequate, their latest report reveals scant progress has been made – despite all the warnings from all manner of external experts.
In a letter published today and addressed to the Council, Ofsted summarises the findings of their latest monitoring visit on 10th and 11th July 2018. It was the third time Ofsted had come to check on progress since the Labour-run Council was judged to be ‘inadequate’ in September 2017.
They say that: ‘Overall, progress… has been too slow and too many children do not receive a service that meets their needs. Senior managers have correctly identified the priority actions that are necessary, but implementation has not been at the pace required to ensure that children’s circumstances improve in a timely way.’
In addition they found:
- ‘Thresholds are not applied consistently, which means that some children remain in neglectful circumstances for too long.'
- 'Tracking… is not robust, leading to drift and delay in some cases.'
- 'Management oversight of practice is too variable… quality is inconsistent.'
- 'Case transfer processes have been ineffective. This means that children’s plans are not progressed in a timely was and that escalating risks are not always identified.'
Cllr Tim Pollard, Leader of Croydon Conservatives, comments: “One year on this is yet another intensely worrying report from Ofsted. The same failings are being repeated time and time again, with the same comments about drift and delay.
“I am deeply worried about where this leaves Croydon’s most vulnerable children. At a time when Clr Newman and his Labour administration should be getting a grip of such a serious issue, it’s consistently clear that they’re just not up to the job.”
Cllr Maria Gatland, Conservative spokesperson for children, says: “Council staff are trying so hard to try to turn this immensely worrying situation around, but they are being let down consistently by the political leadership of the Council.
“Ofsted have been clear in every one of their reports that the quality of supervision is inconsistent, that processes are ineffective and that progress is just too slow. All of this leaves our vulnerable children at risk of harm.
“Cllr Alisa Flemming is paid to drive forward a desperate need to improve social services, instead she has overseen a year where millions have been spent in an attempt to improve the care of vulnerable children in Croydon but hugely concerning failures remain. Serious questions need to asked about her abilities and leadership.”