Southend Ofsted report: ‘significant improvements to children’s services’

Despite concerns Ofsted has also reported “significant improvements” in Southend children’s services

A report following a visit by inspectors in May, focused on the arrangements for children in need and those who are subject to a protection plan.

It found that leaders have spent time creating a working environment where social workers can develop and build strong and trusting relationships with children, and the views of partner agencies are regularly included in assessments.

The report said most children are seen regularly, depending on the level of support they need. Social workers know their children well and the trust in the relationships helps with the assessment of risk and allows for appropriate safety plans.

There has also been integration of fathers in the assessment and intervention processes, which is positive for some children, with fathers supported in the caring role, as well as multi-agency involvement which helps to support risk assessment across all areas of the child’s life.

Helen Boyd, councillor responsible for children and learning, said: “It is heartening to see that the children in need of protection are getting the trust and stability they need from our social care team, who are doing everything they can to put the children at the heart of their decision making.”

However, inspectors said child protection plans need to be put in place quickly and the council’s response to children suffering chronic neglect needed to improve.

The report said: “For some children living in neglectful and or with domestic abuse, help is not provided consistently. For a few social workers, their high workloads impact on their ability to engage sufficiently with children and impedes the progression of plans.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter