Children's Services Hailed As "Model"

Wandsworth one of ten councils given "excellent" rating by  Ofsted

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Wandsworth is proud that it's work to protect vulnerable young children and ensure that toddlers remain safe and healthy and thrive throughout their early years, has been held up as a model for other local authorities to learn from.

The council is one of only ten given an "excellent" rating by Ofsted inspectors. That verdict followed an unannounced spot check on the council's procedures for protecting vulnerable children and those at risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

Now Ofsted has highlighted key aspects of the work done by these councils to safeguard children. The focus on Wandsworth highlights the achievements of the authority and its partners in ensuring that children make good progress during their early years.

According to the report's findings, in Wandsworth, "early detection of children’s needs has proved to be key in improving outcomes. Joint work involving the police and health professionals is effective in implementing safeguarding arrangements and results in timely action to protect children. As a result of early intervention, repeat referrals to social care services are consistently lower than for similar local authorities.

Quotes from the report:

"Local programmes in Roehampton and Battersea and children’s centres are very successful in working with children and families……Over recent years progress has been made in improving outcomes through the Early Years programme in more disadvantaged areas and with children that need the most support.

"Understanding of local needs and in particular the needs of vulnerable and underachieving groups has been paramount in driving up standards….. …This illustrates Wandsworth’s continuing determination to improve performance even further within the early years."


"These local authorities have strong management arrangements, especially in children’s social care…..They take the views of young people, parents and carers whom they serve very seriously and find creative and innovative ways of meeting their needs.

"Above all, it is consistency and ambition that have led to improved outcomes. While excellent authorities already do the things that they should be doing very well, they know that there is always more to do. Aspiration and tenacity are strong features of the way that they are led and managed.

"Strong and effective partnerships are seen as crucial. They have high expectations of and ambition for all children in their authority; they set challenging targets and, even when these are met, they aspire to achieve more.

"These authorities…..are not complacent and acknowledge any shortfalls in reaching their goals. Solutions are frequently creative and innovative. Setbacks act as a spur for renewed action to tackle concerns, even when this means making difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions."

"They have a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention. Emerging concerns are identified at an early stage, leading to properly targeted support from a range of services. This emphasis is deeply ingrained in the thinking of managers and staff and consistently and genuinely shapes policy, practice and funding, leading to improved outcomes. There is clear evidence of targeting resources to early intervention and to assessment of its impact and value for money."

Head of Ofsted Christine Gilbert said:
"Excellent children’s services are characterised by continually challenging themselves to do more, even where substantial progress has already been made. I hope people in local authorities and in partner organisations who are involved in improving outcomes for children and young people will learn from these examples and the other good practice highlighted in the report."

September 28, 2010