Medway Labour and Cooperative Group today warned that services for children were still not good enough following the release of Ofsted’s latest verdict.
Medway’s Children’s Services were deemed ‘Inadequate’ following an inspection in 2019. This inspection finding followed an ‘Inadequate’ judgement in 2013 and ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2015.
Ofsted’s latest inspection of Medway’s progress, released today, has found areas of improvement. Leadership was found to be improving, with managers having a good understanding of services and with a clear passion for improvement.
However, staffing issues, addressing neglect, and inconsistency in services for young people were found to be areas still to be worked on. The report letter says that Medway has made ‘modest but fragile’ progress.
Cllr Jo Howcroft-Scott, Labour and Cooperative Group Member of Medway Council’s Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “We warmly recognise that council officers, senior managers, social workers and other council staff in children’s services are working hard to improve the lives of our young people. While this report does not have an explicit Ofsted judgement, it is clear that Medway’s services are making progress to where our vulnerable young people need them to be.
“Medway’s Conservative administration is culpable for shocking failure over a number of years and we will continue to hold them to account to make sure they do right by our families. I am concerned about Ofsted’s comment that Medway has made ‘modest but fragile’ progress which shows the vital importance of the Labour Group maintaining our relentless focus on improvement.
Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour and Cooperative Shadow Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Today’s report is clear – services for our young people are not yet good enough. Medway’s children’s services have a long way to go but I have confidence in the leadership of Council officers within the service to make significant progress, as this report implies they have done.
“However, the Conservative administration still has considerable challenges: developing the workforce to ensure recruitment and retention are sound, bearing down on inconsistency in the services they are responsible for and ensuring that neglect is tackled effectively.
“The Labour Group will continue to fight hard to ensure that investment is maintained and that the Conservative administration provides the support officers need to make the rapid and sustained progress our young people deserve. The Conservative administration is completely responsible for this mess, and we will make sure they clear it up.”
Ofsted Letter: https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50170758