By Tom Hussey
A town hall has been praised for the work it has done with young people in care – but told it must do more about youth violence
Southwark council’s handling of vulnerable people during lockdown was inspected by Ofsted, which highlighted areas where officers have performed well in but also key areas that needed improvement.
Southwark was praised for the management of its care system, which showed continuing support throughout the pandemic, offering a wide range of emotional well-being and mental health support, with needs identified and met.
The report also praised the opportunities available to care leavers, many of whom are in work, education or apprenticeships with a number of openings created within Southwark council.
Ofsted praised the council’s early provision of safety kit, personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for front line children’s services staff throughout the pandemic.
The report also said how children in care within the borough are being helped to stay in touch with family members during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Ofsted identified funding and flexible support for parents in arranging extra or different care for their children during Covid-19
Foster carers agreed, speaking positively about the help they get for their children, including education during the pandemic.
But the report called for more to be done to tackle youth violence in the borough.
Ofsted found protecting young people from criminal exploitation or serious youth violence was not always well-coordinated.
Plans to protect young people from violence, especially those not in schools or colleges, needs to speed up.
But Southwark is taking action and systems are already in place to respond to the criticisms.
The report also found that risk assessments for disabled children are not being completed routinely and that not all children were being visited regularly.
Some children have to wait several weeks for help to start, however, due to staff shortages.
Deputy Leader of Southwark council and cabinet member for children, young people and schools, Jasmine Ali, said: “We know that we are doing our best but to hear this is really gratifying.
“I could not be more proud of the department and their work with their partners, they always want to do the best for our children and their families.
“We are firing on all cylinders.”
Brenda McInerney, Her Majesty’s Inspector, said: “Despite the immense financial pressures arising from the ongoing impact of Covid-19 in terms of reduced income and increased costs, political and corporate commitment to continue to protect and invest in front line services for children remains strong.”
Pictured top: Southwark council’s offices in Tooley Street
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