DfE takes over Croydon's children's services

6 Sep 17

The Department for Education has appointed a commissioner for children's services at Croydon Council after a highly critical watchdog report.

Ofsted found “widespread and serious failures” with the local authority’s children’s services, in its report published on Monday.  

Commissioner Eleanor Brazil will work with the council to raise standards within children’s services. She worked with Haringey Council following the Baby P scandal.

The direction issued by the department stated: “Croydon Council has systemically failed as its children’s social care services have been found to be ‘inadequate’ across all of the key judgments in the recent Ofsted inspection report.

“There is a presumption in cases of persistent or systemic failure that children’s social care services will be removed from local authority control, for a period of time, in order to bring about sustainable improvement, unless there are compelling reasons not to do so.”

The watchdog found there had been a deterioration in Croydon’s children’s services since its previous inspection in 2012 when they were rated “adequate”.

Croydon Council said it had taken “immediate action” to remedy the failures exposed in the Ofsted report.

Barbara Peacock, executive director of people, said: “We accept the findings of this report and are committed to making sure that we provide better support for our children and young people. I’m sorry that our services have not been good enough.

“We identified the need for improvements last year but despite working extremely hard to make these necessary changes, they have not delivered the impact we wanted.”

Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “The care and safety of vulnerable children and young people is an absolute priority for this council and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that we are providing them with the high-quality services that they deserve.

“I’m disappointed that changes made over the past year have not delivered the quality of service we want for our children. We are determined to put this right as soon as possible by increasing the pace of change.”

Flemming stated that the council had “excellent” social workers working in challenging conditions, including the backdrop of a “shortfall” in national funding.

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