Posted: 26th August 2021

A council which has experienced high levels of Covid-19 infections has been praised for the quality of provision for vulnerable children during the pandemic.

A focused inspection on arrangements for children in need and children subject to a child protection plan in the London borough of Wandsworth found “strong commitment and investment” from politicians and senior leaders across the council and partners to “bring about positive change for children”.

Ofsted notes that despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, services had been “agile and responsive to the needs of children and their families”.

Inspectors found that strong partnership working systems were in place, with the results of this evident on children’s records.

“While more work needs to be done to ensure that all children receive a consistently good service, there has been a determined focus on the improvements necessary,” a letter from Ofsted outlining the findings states.

“Senior leaders and managers, well led by the [director of children’s services], have a clear vision for their services, actively promote high-quality practice and know what needs to be further improved,” it adds.

Inspectors said that despite a high rate of Covid-19 infections in Wandsworth, the council, along with its partners, had “planned and delivered a well-coordinated and effective response to the pandemic”.

“Its actions have been timely and well-considered, with an appropriate focus on supporting the most vulnerable. Despite the wider challenges presented by the pandemic, investment and support for children’s services have been consistently prioritised.

“Partners feel listened to and their views valued. They report feeling more a part of the safeguarding system than they have done previously,” the letter states.

Wandsworth’s last full inspection of children’s services took place in 2018, when provision was rated as “requires improvement”, having before that been judged to be “inadequate”.

Will Sweet, lead member for education and children’s services at Wandsworth Council, said: “This is an excellent report and is testament to the hard work and dedication of Wandsworth Council staff who work with children in need and families in need of support, help and protection.

“As a council, we strive to put children and their voices at the heart of what we do. I’m glad that the inspectors saw this first hand and highlighted it in their report. We will build on this as we work to deliver greater services to our communities. What shines through is our absolute commitment to bring about positive change for our most vulnerable children and their families.”

Source: Children Young People Now

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