Haringey Council and its partners have made only “limited progress” on improving safeguarding since a damning joint area review, published last December, following the baby Peter trial.
That was the verdict from Ofsted and fellow inspectorates in a re-inspection of safeguarding in the north London borough published today, which particularly criticised the quality of social work practice and management at Haringey Council.
While acknowledging work had been done on improving safeguarding, inspectors said the council had made limited progress in improving social work practice.
“Significant shortcomings” in staffing and the capability of some managers and social workers had restricted the rate of progress, meaning children and young people were not being consistently safeguarded.
The report said operational management of the referral and assessment service within children’s social care “has been very unstable”, linked to staff suspensions, sickness and special leave.
Key vacancies remain and a considerable proportion of posts, including some in the senior management team, are filled by interim and agency managers.
It found capacity to improve within the council and its partners was “limited”, though there was a “shared and strong commitment and motivation to improve the quality of safeguarding services”.
Among a number of recommendations, inspectors said that:-
- Agencies should take immediate action to establish the volume of demand for services and strengthen the ability to prioritise resources.
- The council’s children’s services should ensure formal supervision arrangements are consistently in place and that all case decisions made in supervision are formally recorded in files.
Council accepts findings
Council leader Claire Kober said: “We accept the findings of this report and are prioritising improvements to frontline practice and supervision.
“As everyone knows, there were fundamental problems with our safeguarding service and other issues – such as a backlog of cases – have come to light and decisive action has been taken in recent months.
“We have a major staff recruitment drive underway and we remain committed to doing all we can to keep children in Haringey safe.”
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