Manchester City Council

Must Do Much Better, Will Do Much Better

Cuts and recession notwithstanding, Manchester has had much to celebrate over the last few years, but unfortunately it's not always good news. This morning Ofsted published a report of their recent Childrens Services inspection. It's not all bad news, and front-line workers should take some heart from a recognition of their hard work and commitment, but the bottom line is, we have to improve and by a lot, quickly, something we have already started on and are determined to succeed in. Below is the statement made by the Executive Member for Childrens Services at this morning's Council Executive Committee meeting.

" Ofsted judge services to be either Inadequate; Requiring Improvement; Good or Outstanding. The overall judgment of Ofsted is that Children's Services are Inadequate. The judgments on areas of the services that contributed towards this overall judgment are:

Children who need help and protection - inadequate

Children looked after and achieving permanence - requires improvement

Adoption performance - inadequate

Experience and progress of care leavers - requires improvement

Leadership, management and governance - inadequate.

The previous Ofsted inspection of safeguarding in November 2010 found our services to be Adequate.

In June and July this year, Ofsted sent ten inspectors to Manchester over a four week period and looked at well over 250 cases. Children’s Services had already assessed that our arrangements required improvement to get to the good standard we all want for children.

At the end of the fieldwork Ofsted agreed that our services required improvement. However, three weeks after the inspection finished, Ofsted reviewed their findings and judged our arrangements to be Inadequate.

We want to get our services to a good standard as soon as possible and several actions have already begun to move us in this direction. .

We fully accept that services for children in the city are not yet as good as we all want them to be. Our absolute priority now, as it always has been, is to ensure the continued safety and well-being of children and young people in the city.

Whilst we acknowledge that services need to improve, we are confident that children who are at risk of harm are properly protected. No evidence was found that young people are not safe in this city. Ofsted’s judgement that children were at potential risk of harm was largely based on a backlog of social work assessments. Since the inspection this backlog has been eradicated for good. We have also continued to reduce the number of cases needed to be dealt with by our social workers.

Where shortcomings were identified, these largely related to management processes rather than frontline staff who are doing a difficult job well, and have our full confidence.

Ofsted did say that there is a strong political consensus and commitment to drive improvements in practice. It was recognised that Social Work posts have been protected from budget cuts and funding has been provided to meet the increased numbers of children needing to be looked after. The Corporate Parenting Panel is described as being well informed, with well-established links to the Care to Change Council made up of looked after children and young people.

It is very important to remember that this report is not simply about council services but children’s services in the city as a whole. Our partner agencies, including the Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board, Greater Manchester Police, NHS partners and schools have a significant role to play in improvement. We’ve already set up a task force with them to address the issues raised in the report.

We had identified the areas for improvement before the inspection and were already taking steps to address them, as recognised in some of the strengths highlighted in the report, but the pace of change needs to accelerate. Since we received the feedback from Ofsted on 16th July, plans are already being implemented to ensure rapid improvement and these include reforming services to ensure that we help families and young people early, preventing the need for more intensive support further down the line.

We know what we need to do and are determined to work together to deliver the best services for Manchester children and families."

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There is one response to “Must Do Much Better, Will Do Much Better”

  1. Ian Says:

    Strange if I had just recieved a report like this I would have been moved on.
    Seems like our children are being left open to sexual abuse because SW's and Police arn't bothered about them.
    It will not be long before some poor children are groomed here and then everyone will say its not us!!!!!!!

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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