Working together to improve Children’s Services

Letter to the EDP from Cllr Roger Smith, Lead member for Children's Services

         Dear Editor,

          Working together to improve Children’s Services

I am concerned that Alan Pawsey’s description of Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services, in his recent leaflet on behalf of the Norfolk Labour Party is out of touch with the reality.

Far from the having “slid backwards in the past year”, the most recent monitoring report by OFSTED issued 31st March 2017 points to many positive improvements in the way we deliver social care to Norfolk’s children in need of help and protection, particularly those in care either as children looked after (principally by foster carers) or care leavers.

Since the November 2016 monitoring report, OFSTED now states that “the local authority has taken decisive action to speed up the pace of improvement. Managers and staff are responding well to increased scrutiny, challenge and accountability. Morale is good”. But as we would expect with any of our services there is still more work to do, which is actively in hand, monitored by a multi-agency Improvement Board, chaired by our Managing Director.

Constantly banging on about “damning OFSTED reports” of the past years is irresponsible, damaging to morale, and denigrating the many day-to-day achievements of social work staff and the families they work with.

It’s about time we ceased this political football if we are sincere about improving the lives of children and families and backing our highly professional and dedicated social work staff working in children’s social care in Norfolk.

Yours faithfully,

CCllr Roger Smith, Lead Member for Children’s Services, Norfolk County Council.