Council is the first in the country to employ a 'Young People's Commissioner'
PUBLISHED: 16:31 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 18 April 2019
Newham Council will be the first in the country to employ a "Young People's Commissioner" in a bid to help transform failing services for children.
The council announced the post as part of a restructure that it says will 'significantly' cut costs while improving services.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “As part of a commitment I made when I was elected, this new structure will give prominence to children and young people, ensuring we can help them to reach their full potential and keep them safe.
“The Children and Young People's Commissioner will touch all services at Newham council to ensure they all transform to better serve young people.”
The news follows last months damning Ofsted report that gave the children's department an “inadequate” rating — the lowest possible.
Inspectors found that there was a “distinct lack of ambition for children” and that “leaders are failing in their duties to children in care and care leavers”.
They also found that “decisions for children to come into care are not always based on up-to-date assessments or made in response to escalating risk”, although assessments and plans were generally found to be up to date
Newham is ranked as one of the most deprived areas in London and more than a third of the borough's population are aged under 25.
The restructure “will ensure the needs of this section of the population are met”, a council spokesman said.
Under the new plans the council will be split into seven departments: Brighter futures; inclusive economy and housing; children and young people; adults and health; environment and sustainable transport; resources; people; and policy and performance.
Ms Fiaz added: “I am excited and positive about the changes to the way the council operates.
“Too often investment has failed to benefit the people of the borough. I want to change this and ensure our people receive the impacts of this growth, as we work to achieve a fairer and more prosperous Newham.”
Althea Loderick, the council's new chief executive, added: “One of my highest priorities is to take forward the implementation of the new structure with a particular focus on making permanent appointments.
“This will start from the top of the structure and work its way down.”