Council children’s services has improved

Insplogo2The recent Ofsted inspection of the services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers confirms that most aspects of the service have improved since 2012 when it was only adequate (meeting minimum requirements).
The findings of the inspection carried out early this year look more positive considering that many other local authorities don’t do this well at the inspections.
Strengths
Inspectors have judged the children’s services as “good” overall since most children and young people have the support that they need when they need it. The response to children who need to be looked after is swift and child centred, inspectors report.
Inspectors found that a strong and energetic senior management team with a sense of direction is helping children to achieve good outcomes.
Their praise for the management and the commitment to performance management at all levels of the organisation, reflect positively on the management restructuring led by the chief executive Michael Lockwood.
Comparative weaknesses
Inspectors found that the experiences and progress of children  who need help and protection, require improvement i.e. the authority is not yet delivering good help and protection for children, young people and families.
The children do not have their needs fully assessed or receive services as quickly as they could and their reviews need improvements, the inspection assessed.
Inspectors also found that the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) is not yet demonstrating the characteristics of ‘good’ and requires improvement. (Harrow LSCB  has about 40 members from a number of disciplines: HMG).
They found that the limited performance information supplied by some partner agencies inhibits the board’s ability to monitor and understand the overall effectiveness of services and to challenge agencies when they fall short.
(This is an inbuilt weakness of a multi agency set up where agencies and professionals involved come from different working ethos and practices, defending their own corner. This presents  a big challenge to the board in terms of the coordination and quality assurance. Many analysts argue that the LSCB a waste of public money: HMG).
Children profile
Approximately 57,000 (53,000 in 2012) children and young people under the age of 18 years (23% of the total population) live in Harrow, of which 69% are from minority ethnic groups.
Approximately 15% of the children aged under 16 years are living in low-income families.
At 31 December 2016, 200 children were being looked after by the local authority, most live with foster families, some outside Harrow.