South Tyneside MPs ‘extremely concerned’ after children’s services in South Tyneside were rated ‘inadequate’
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Following a recent inspection, Ofsted stated that there had been a decline in the quality of services since its last full inspection in 2017.
Ofsted raised concerns around the deterioration of strategic oversight, poor recording-keeping of management decisions and significant numbers of children being placed in unregistered children’s homes.
Following the result of the inspection, Jarrow MP Kate Osborne has expressed her concerns and disappointment.
She said: “I’m extremely concerned with the inadequate rating set by Ofsted and I have requested an urgent meeting with the Leader and Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council to discuss this important issue further.
“Of course, findings such as this are beyond disappointing. It is incredibly worrying to see there has been a further decline in services since the last inspection in 2017.
“I note that South Tyneside Council have already accepted that there are areas that need improvement and taken some immediate actions.
“The council have said they are committed to driving up standards for children and young people in their care. I will be having regular discussions with them to monitor that commitment and their progress.
“We want and deserve the best for children in South Tyneside, I have already had constituents contact me with their concerns and I will speak to the local authority at the earliest opportunity to see if I can provide any additional help and support at this time.”
South Shields MP, Emma Lewell-Buck has also expressed her concerns at the rating and has requested a meeting with council bosses.
She added: “As a former child protection social worker, I’m extremely concerned about the inadequate rating from Ofsted and the state of children’s services in our area.
“Social workers do an amazing job for children but without effective leadership and oversight the provision of services has been allowed to decline to this unacceptable level.
“These inspections don’t happen often, the last one being in 2017, and it’s deeply worrying that services are being left broken beneath the service. If this inspection hadn’t have happened, how many children would have been left to suffer without an action plan from the Council?
“Although I am not involved with the delivery of Council services, I am continually holding the Government to task on children’s care so I will apply the same scrutiny to my own back yard.
“I have arranged an urgent meeting with the Leader and Chief Executive to discuss this ASAP.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, the leader of South Tyneside Council, has pledged a commitment to improving children’s services across the borough.
She commented: “Naturally, we are disappointed with the rating but understand and accept where we have fallen short.
“We accept that there are areas that need improved practice, and we are absolutely determined to raise the bar and deliver children’s services of the highest possible standard in South Tyneside.
“We are passionate about children in South Tyneside; we have a history of supporting our children in care and have robust package of support in place for care leavers.
“The council is absolutely committed to driving up standards for children and young people in our care, our partners have made that same commitment.”
Ofsted made seven recommendations for improvement following its latest inspection, all of which have seen significant progress to date says South Tyneside Council.
The local authority has created an improvement plan, which will be reviewed and signed off by Ofsted, before a period of quarterly monitoring visits commences to track the progress of the plan.
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