Fifteen months since Ofsted reported that Croydon Council’s children’s social care were inadequate, their latest report reveals that drift and delay remains in our struggling children’s social service.
In a letter published today and addressed to the Council, Ofsted summarises the findings of their latest monitoring visit on 3rd and 4th October 2018. It was the fourth time Ofsted had come to check on progress since the Labour-run Council was judged to be ‘inadequate’ in September 2017.
While the inspectors noted welcome improvements in the service, a ‘lack of urgency’ in placements with carers and setting up familial early intervention meetings was highlighted as a serious area of concern.
Ofsted found that ‘some children in care are experiencing drift and delay in securing their permanence arrangement. In particular, this affects children who have been waiting to be formally matched with their current carer, although drift is also occurring for very young children with a plan for adoption. More urgency is needed to prevent drift in securing permanency.’
They expressed concern that ‘there is insufficient understanding of the emotional impact that such delay will have on children and senior leaders need to tackle this legacy of drift for children with additional pace.’
Cllr Maria Gatland, Conservative spokesperson for children, says: “I welcome the progress made by Croydon Council’s Children’s Services since they were judged inadequate by Ofsted last year. In the latest Ofsted Monitoring Report the hard work and commitment of the Council’s social workers is highlighted and improvement is noted in a number of areas.
“However, the service still requires significant improvement. It is concerning to read that too many of the children in care in Croydon experience delays in the adoption process and the emotional impact of delays on these children is not understood. While I recognise some progress has been made I will continue to challenge any drift or delay that affects the lives of Croydon’s most vulnerable children.”
A permanent executive Director for Children, Families and Education has recently been appointed, and will be taking up his post in December 2018. It is hoped that he will drive forward the improvements needed in Children’s Services whilst seeking to reduce the delay in achieving positive outcomes for children in the Council’s care.