Haringey Council has pledged better management and supervision of social workers as part of an action plan in response to last December’s damning joint area review of safeguarding, sparked by the Baby P case.
The action plan sets the target of achieving a satisfactory rating for children’s services by December and an outstanding rating within three years. In its annual performance assessment for 2008, published following the JAR, Haringey received Ofsted’s lowest rating of ‘inadequate’ for children’s services, with inadequate capacity to improve.
The plan includes a ‘core offer’ for frontline staff by August including high quality supervision, “reflective” practice, balanced workloads and investment in office accommodation and IT systems. The plan also pledges more support staff in order to free up social workers to spend the “maximum” amount of time with children and families.
Other measures include driving up recruitment of permanent staff and reducing the number of agency workers and improving leadership and partnership working. The plan states that Haringey will “demonstrate best practice” by 2012.
Submitting the plan to children’s secretary Ed Balls, Lorna Reith, cabinet member for children and young people, acknowledged the need for “fundamental change” in the way the council and all other agencies responsible for safeguarding children worked together.
“We are making major improvements so that Haringey is an exemplar for safeguarding children. This will take time, but changes are already being made,” she said.
The council has also appointed a group of “critical friends” to act as a sounding board for its progress. The “quality outcomes board” includes neighbouring borough Hackney’s elected mayor, Jules Pipe, Ealing Council chief executive Darra Singh and Kensington and Chelsea Council’s director of children’s services, Anne Marie Carrie.
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