Recorder letters: Children’s services, Stratford Town Centre, NHS nurses and child abuse

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 April 2019

Newham Council's children's services have been branded inadequate by Ofsted. Picture: KEN MEARS

Newham Council's children's services have been branded inadequate by Ofsted. Picture: KEN MEARS


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Our children are still being failed by council

Clive Furness, Fisher Street, Canning Town, writes:

Ofsted have provided a report branding Newham’s care services as “inadequate”.

The response by Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz is the one we expected. “It’s someone else’s fault”.

What she, and your report (Services for children show ‘deterioration’. Recorder) neglect to mention is that in March 2018 Ofsted visited Newham to review progress in children’s care services. This is what they found.

“Corporate and political support is ensuring that there is a continued focus on improving social work practice for children in Newham. Leaders know their service well and this supports the development of good social work practice[...] Significant work over the last 12 months has resulted in an improved response to contacts and referrals.”

In the 12 months since that visit the service has gone from improving with good political support to inadequate. Something happened after March 2018 which meant that the senior leadership took their eye off the ball. That something was the election of a mayor more concerned with image than improvement.

Rather than seek to blame someone the previous administration or senior officers for her failings Mayor Fiaz should start to take some responsibility for her own inaction.

How to protect new seating

A Stratford resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

I like the new changes to Stratford Town Centre with the paving and added seats.

What a shame it would be to see them ruined by gum and cigarette butts. Can it be possible to get those gum and cigarette bins like they have in Walthamstow and opposite Liverpool Street station?

Both areas look very clean so it would make perfect sense to have them here, all that hard work giving the place a revamp wouldn’t be wasted then!

We must close NHS nurses gap

Jude Diggins, regional director and Cynthia Davis, board chairman, Royal College of Nursing, London, write:

The NHS is currently consulting on possible changes to the law that could help deliver the big ideas for the health service set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

However, as nursing’s biggest professional union, we at the Royal College of Nursing believe there is a conspicuous gap in NHS plans.

The gap is nurses, or rather the lack of them.

It’s a gap that has become too big, and too big a risk to ignore. It’s a gap that leaves existing nurses under intolerable pressure and which will continue to compromise patient care unless it is addressed urgently and underpinned by legislation.

There are nearly 40,000 nursing vacancies in England with London’s health service accounting for almost a quarter of the empty posts.

This has happened in part, because no one has been legally responsible for ensuring there are enough nurses. This must change.

We are inviting patients, their families and the public to join our call for a change in the law to address the shortage of nurses and protect patient care. #

Please tell the NHS what you think by completing our online form at

Spotting signs of child abuse

Emma Motherwell, local campaigns manager, NSPCC, writes:

Coronation Street and Emmerdale have all recently tackled the difficult subject of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

But it was no doubt the Rotherham scandal which really lifted the lid and got people talking about this form of abuse which sees children being sexually abused in return for getting something like money or drugs.

CSE victims rely on others to spot the signs and help them because they may find it difficult to talk about what is happening to them due to feeling ashamed, scared, embarrassed or guilty.

Signs of CSE can be difficult to spot but may include going missing from home, care or education; being fearful of certain people or situations; having older boyfriends or girlfriends, or getting involved in gangs.

The effects of CSE, which can be devastating, can include mental health problems, alcohol and drug misuse, and criminal activity.

Adults worried a child is a victim of, or is at risk of, CSE can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 or 999 in an emergency.

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