As many of you will know, Newham’s children’s services were inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) in February. Ofsted have published their findings, which show that our children’s services are rated inadequate. They sent their improvement notice to us on 3 April. You can read it here
There is information about the inspection on the council’s website here
and at www.newham.gov.uk/Ofsted
including a link to the inspection report. The inspectors did highlight some examples of good practice. Really importantly, they found that children identified as in need of help and protection are effectively safeguarded. They also said that our social workers know their children well.
But they also found serious failings, including in leadership and in our ambitions for children. I know that giving staff the right leadership and support is essential to enabling them to do their jobs well, and I am profoundly sorry that in the period since the last Ofsted inspection in 2014 this wasn’t as good as it needed to be. That is why in our press release I issued a public apology.
Since my election last May, significant work to improve children’s services accelerated and the Budget approved by Council last month includes the largest investment in children’s services in a generation. This includes £10.6m for children’s services, £1.4m in youth services and £1.3m in special education provision for the coming 2019/20 financial year. This is on top of additional in-year allocation of £10.6m for children’s services alongside £172,000 for those most vulnerable, that I approved soon after I stepped into office. This reflects my passionate commitment to the children and young people in our borough, ensuring that they are at the heart of everything we do.
You may be aware that in the council’s proposed corporate restructure, children’s services will be given more visible leadership and greater capacity which underlines my commitment to rapid improvement. This currently includes the proposal of a new Newham Children and Young People Commissioner, allowing us to increase our ambition for the borough’s children across the entire council because it’s a responsibility we will all embrace with clear purpose so that
they can flourish in safety and good health.
I’m determined to give Newham’s children and young people the services they deserve, and I know that we are lucky to have really dedicated social workers and staff in our schools who work tirelessly to keep children and young people safe. I’m committed to giving them the support, leadership and tools they need to do their jobs effectively, and I’ll be counting on the support of everyone to make the necessary changes and giving young people the services they deserve.
As ever, my thanks to you all for everything you do for the residents in Newham – including our young people who all deserve the best.
Rokhsana Fiaz OBE
Mayor of Newham
People at the heart of everything we do