Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne has called on Government Ministers to take action to address the ongoing poor levels of service from Tameside Children’s Services.
The call comes after the publication of the latest OFSTED monitoring letter into the service which continues to find failings across the department.
Whilst OFSTED recognises the appointment of a new Director of Children’s Services, who has made some changes in the department, the latest report raises serious concerns about both the adequacy and effectiveness of the previous ‘improvement plan’ produced by the Council, and also issued a stark warning about the ability of the ‘political, corporate and operational leaders’ to manage the service stating that “…they do not know their services and the impact for children well enough.”
OFSTED have pinpointed several areas where they expect to see improvements including on child protection and assessment timings with Greater Manchester Police; frequency and quality of supervision (of children); social worker caseloads; inconsistency in outcomes following assessments; to name but a few highlighted by the regulator.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“It just cannot be right that Tameside Children’s Services is allowed to limp on with considerable issues for another year when both neighbouring Manchester and Stockport are now rated as ‘Good’ by OFSTED. As a cross-borough MP how can it be acceptable that a child and family in the Stockport part of my constituency will get a much better quality of service to children and families in the Tameside part?”
“Nor is this solely about money. Tameside Council have, to their credit, tripled the Children’s Services budget in recent years, but OFSTED seem to have singled out the lack of political drive or understanding, together with corporate and operational failings in the department as the main blockage for change. And that’s a big worry for me.”
“That’s why I’m calling on Tameside to voluntarily hand their Children’s Services over to an independent Children’s Trust. This is precisely what Sunderland Council did after a string of bad OFSTED reports. That service then went from ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’ in the short space of two years. That’s the pace of transformation Tameside needs to see.”
“I will be asking for a meeting with the Children’s Social Care Minister, Will Quince MP, to urge him to take all steps necessary to assist Tameside to improve this key council service, because at the end of the day the current situation is letting children and families down.”