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View from Town Hall: Determined to improve children's services

PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 March 2019

Rokhsana Fiaz

Our children's services were inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) last month. Their report shows that our services are rated inadequate.

Inspectors did highlight areas of good practice. Really importantly, they found that children identified as in need of help and protection are appropriately safeguarded. They also said our social workers know their children well. But they also found failings, including in leadership and in our ambitions for children.

It’s clear that services for children and young people in Newham have not been good enough and I apologise unreservedly to our young people and their families for the unacceptable failings.

I’m ambitious for our children and promised before I was elected mayor that I would place them at the heart of everything we do. The Ofsted findings further underline my commitment.

We have made improvements during my first 10 months as mayor. Since my election last May significant work to improve children’s services accelerated and the budget approved by council last month includes the largest investment in children’s services in a generation. This includes £10.6m for children’s services, £1.4m in youth services and £1.3m in special education provision for the coming 2019/20 financial year. This is on top of additional funding that I approved soon after I stepped into office.

This reflects my passionate commitment to the children and young people in our borough, ensuring that they are at the heart of everything we do.

We are implementing an immediate action plan to address other issues highlighted by Ofsted, and we are determined to work in partnership with children and young people to ensure that their needs and priorities are at the heart of our improvements.

We are lucky to have some really dedicated social workers here in Newham who work tirelessly to keep children and young people safe.

I’m committed to giving them the support, leadership and tools they need to do their jobs effectively.

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