Medway Labour and Cooperative Group today welcomed the news that Medway’s Children’s Services, rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2019, have been reprieved from the threat of being lost to Medway Council control.
The Children’s Services Commissioner, appointed by the Department for Education, Eleanor Brazil has recommended that the option for an alternative delivery of children’s services, outside of Medway control, should be removed. Her recommendations, accepted by ministers, include the ending of the role of Children’s Services Commissioner and the appointment of an Improvement Advisor, to continue the progress which Medway Children’s Services need to make and to sustain.
Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour and Cooperative Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Children’s Services today said, ‘All credit to Children’s Services leaders, social workers and staff, who are working so hard to ensure that our Medway’s children are safe. The progress they have made is impressive and all the more so in the circumstances of the pandemic with all the added difficulties that has brought.
‘However, this is only one step on a much longer journey. There are still issues with the quality of care plans, with the quality of audit and we are concerned about the lack of external validation from Ofsted who would have visited on a number of occasions to check progress but have not done so due to the pandemic. We applaud the efforts of staff and leadership, but we give clear notice that we will continue our rigorous scrutiny of Children’s Services to ensure that they will be the best they can for the young people of Medway.’
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour and Cooperative Group Leader, added, ‘This is indeed good news. However, Medway’s Conservatives should not have allowed our services for young people to deteriorate in the first place. They are wholly responsible for our current ‘Inadequate’ rating and hardworking staff are digging them out of the crisis.
‘Medway is still in intervention and the Conservatives cannot be satisfied until Children’s Services are as good as our Medway young people deserve. We will not rest until that has been achieved.’
The full revised direction issued to Medway Council can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/revised-direction-issued-to-medway-council