Ofsted has praised progress at Haringey Council since its previous inspection in July 2009 and has said no child is at immediate risk of significant harm.
In its latest progress report on the troubled council’s safeguarding services, published on 23 February, Ofsted said some concerns remained over capacity issues and the quality of frontline social work practice.
However, it found “extensive and consistent” evidence of good progress, while leadership and management was also “robust” enough to deliver further improvements.
The report is significant as children’s secretary Ed Balls was waiting on its release before deciding on any further intervention at Haringey following the Baby P case.
Ofsted noted increased levels of confidence and morale in the workforce, partly due to a reduction in caseloads. An effective initial screening system for referrals to children’s services had been introduced, along with new threshold criteria in October 2009, which had started to improve caseload management.
The caseloads of some social workers have been reduced by as much as 50%, which has helped Haringey to reduce staff turnover.
Ofsted also applauded Haringey’s progress in the development of local preventive strategies and its use of the common assessment framework.
While the inspectorate found case records that raised concerns about the quality of practice, these did not raise critical safeguarding issues and no children were judged to be at immediate risk of significant harm.
Other key Ofsted findings
● Ofsted praised the council’s improved information sharing with police, but said doctors and nurses were under-represented at child protection conferences.
● It also criticised “weak” safeguarding knowledge and practice among a number of early years and childcare providers.
● Initial and core assessments were a matter of concern and this was marked as an area for priority improvement. Ofsted also found some delays and judged the quality of records to be inconsistent.
● Lessons from four serious case reviews by the council were “disseminated effectively” across police, health, children’s social care and schools.
The Baby P case