Intervention Level In Authorities Rated Inadequate by Ofsted

Inadequate LAs receive quarterly monitoring visits from Ofsted which are explained here

The first quarterly monitoring visit is within four weeks of the deadline for the local authority’s action plan (itself within 70 days of receipt of the inspection report). The lead monitoring inspector confirms the dates of the quarterly monitoring visits in advance. Usually two HMI undertake each visit which generally lasts for two days.  Monitoring activity relates to key weaknesses and recommendations in the inspection report.  Inspectors will also check that performance in the other areas has not declined since the inspection, and will look at new or emerging concerns.  Monitoring visits may not be equally spaced throughout the year.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/monitoring-local-authority-childrens-services-judged-inadequate-guidance-for-inspectors

This blog post analyses what is currently happening with  LAs rated inadequate by Ofsted.

See also https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/social-care-commentary-what-do-local-authorities-need-to-do-to-improve-from-inadequate    Ofsted blog March 2018

The following flowchart is taken from the National Audit Office Children in Need of Help and Protection, October 2016  which in turn derives from Putting Children First

intervention

Demos calls this “externalisation rather than outsourcing.” 

This is the hierarchy of possible intervention, the right hand side of the flow chart deals with “improvement” while the left hand side is about “direction.”  

DIRECTION

This is the more radical option.

The first query is “sufficient evidence of persistent or systemic failure.” If the answer is “YES”, then the Government issues a statutory direction and appoints a Commissioner to assess whether services should remain with the council. 

See  this link from Lord Nash, July 2017 explaining which LAs have systemic failure and which have persistent.

IF the Commissioner’s verdict is that the authority is NOT capable of improvement, the next question is whether the local authority is co-operative or is resistant. If the council is co-operative, the Trust will be a partnership; if resistant, a Trust arrangement will be imposed on the council within the year.  (Sandwell for example will be an imposed Trust

(IF on the other hand the Commissioner rules that the authority DOES  have capacity to improve, then the LA will move onto the right hand side IMPROVEMENT track.)

IMPROVEMENT NOTICE 

In the first instance, IF there is not “sufficient evidence of persistent or systemic failure” then the right hand side of the flow chart applies. (A local authority may also be moved onto the IMPROVEMENT track if it is assessed as being capable of improvement after persistent failure.)

There will be a Government-appointed Improvement Advisor (who may be an individual or a company) who will work with the council. Although this is not spelled out in the NAO flowchart, there is generally an Improvement Board which may be instructed to appoint an Independent Chair. 

A diagnostic review will be carried out within 3 months and within 6 months there will be a report to the Government. IF sufficient progress has been made, then progress must be maintained and will be assessed at a subsequent Ofsted inspection (which is not the same as  a quarterly monitoring visit) The outcome at the re-inspection stage will depend on whether the council is rated good, requires improvement or inadequate.

IF on the other hand, sufficient progress has NOT been made within 6 months, then as per the December 2015 statement, the council will be moved to the left hand side of the flowchart which deals with statutory DIRECTIONS. 

I will now try to assess where each LA fits in the above flowchart, based on information already in the public domain.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES RATED INADEQUATE 

NORTH WEST 

  • Cumbria  DIRECTION moved out of inadequate January 2018 
  • Knowsley  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE  AS OF JUNE 13TH 2017 MOVED FROM INADEQUATE TO REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT
  • Lancashire  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE (making progress) 
  • Manchester  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE (making progress) 
  • Tameside  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE
  • Wirral DIRECTION (early days, has Improvement Plan) 

WEST MIDLANDS

  • Birmingham DIRECTION MUST TRANSFER TO TRUST  Commissioner Dave Hill 
  • Coventry IMPROVEMENT NOTICE AS OF JUNE 13TH 2017, MOVED FROM INADEQUATE TO REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT 
  • Dudley  DIRECTION (Commissioner says keep services with council at present) 
  • Sandwell DIRECTION MUST TRANSFER TO TRUST (imposed) 
  • Worcestershire DIRECTION Commissioner Trevor Doughty More

NORTH

  • Darlington IMPROVEMENT NOTICE (making progress) OUT OF INADEQUATE MAY 2018 
  • Doncaster DIRECTION TRUST (making progress)  rated GOOD JANUARY 2018
  • Kirklees  DIRECTION Commissioner Eleanor Brazil LEEDS COUNCIL WILL RUN THEIR CHILDREN’S SERVICES 
  • Rotherham DIRECTION COMMISSIONERS RUNNING SERVICES  LINCOLNSHIRE IS PRACTICE IMPROVEMENT PARTNER, some improvement  OUT OF INADEQUATE JANUARY 2018 
  • Sunderland  DIRECTION TRANSFERRED TO CHILDREN’S SERVICES COMPANY,  APRIL 2017 working with Nick Whitfield  (NW to retire, May 2018

EAST 

  • Leicester City  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE (making progress) OUT OF INADEQUATE 
  • Norfolk  DIRECTION  OUT OF INADEQUATE TO REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT, JANUARY 2018 

LONDON 

  • Barnet  DIRECTION LA MUST COOPERATE WITH ESSEX 
  • Bromley  DIRECTION (services to stay with council for now) 
  • Croydon  DIRECTION LA MUST WORK WITH CAMDEN 
  • Lambeth IMPROVEMENT NOTICE (making progress) OUT OF INADEQUATE MAY 2018
  • Tower Hamlets  DIRECTION 
  • Wandsworth IMPROVEMENT NOTICE 

SOUTH 

  • Buckinghamshire  DIRECTION (making progress) 
  • Gloucestershire IMPROVEMENT NOTICE
  • Reading  DIRECTION working with Nick Whitfield, will transfer children’s services to company  NW to retire, May 2018 
  • Slough SERVICES TRANSFERRED TO TRUST 
  • Somerset DIRECTION  out of inadequate January 2018 
  • South Gloucestershire IMPROVEMENT NOTICE
  • Surrey  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE (making progress) 
  • Torbay DIRECTION. HAMPSHIRE IS PRACTICE IMPROVEMENT PARTNER

West Berkshire IMPROVEMENT NOTICE

Map extract from the National Audit Office Children in Need of Help and Protection, October 2016  from which can be seen a cluster of local authorities in the West Midlands all under direction from the Government.

intervention2

BARNET

BIRMINGHAM 

BROMLEY 

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

COVENTRY

CROYDON 

CUMBRIA

DARLINGTON 

  • Darlington First declared inadequate  in September 2015 (found “adequate” in 2012)
  • DfE Direction Letter/Improvement Notice October 2015, work with  Red Quadrant as Government-appointed advisor                                                                   
  • Set up Improvement Board, Clive Harrison from Red Quadrant acting as Independent Chair 
  • Ofsted August 2016 praise for leadership but issues with social work capacity and quality of assessments
  • Ofsted November 2016  making steady progress in relation to August recommendations but deterioration in some further practice areas.
  • Ofsted March 2017   beginning to make some progress
  • Ofsted July 2017  steady progress maintained for children in need of help and protection, NOT been sustained for children looked after, recently appointed chair of the scrutiny committee has injected fresh energy into the role and committee members of the committee have had extensive mandatory training
  • Ofsted October 2017  improved workforce stability More
  • Ofsted May 2018 full reinspection moved out of inadequate to requires improvement 
  • NORTH WEST  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE  (making progress) 

DONCASTER 

DUDLEY

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

OFSTED SEND INSPECTION REPORT GLOUCESTERSHIRE   JULY 2016

KIRKLEES

  • Ofsted declared Kirklees inadequate November 25th 2016,
  • DfE Direction Letter November 2016, appointment Eleanor Brazil as Commissioner  (also in Slough and Dudley, previously in Sandwell)   to assess whether control of children’s social care should be removed from Council 
  • Kirklees to spend £450K on temporary social workers, November 2016 (Cabinet Briefing Paper November 2016)
  • Kirklees Director Children’s Services resigns + staff announce strike January 2017
  • New DC Gill Ellis (previously Kirklees Learning and Skills, Nottingham City, Sheffield)
  • Kirklees Cabinet debates Improvement Plan and children’s services funding, March 2017
  • Merlin Joseph appointed Improvement Director April 2017   (previously Hillingdon, Bromley, Dudley)
  • Ofsted next monitoring visit due 27/28 June 2017
  • Reports that children’s services could be “taken over” by Leeds, June 2017
  • Strike action + more on Leeds takeover July 2017
  • Gill Ellis DC retires, replaced by Steve Walker also DC Leeds + additional members workforce Leeds July 2017     More
  • Ofsted July 2017 pace of change hindered by workforce instability and high social work caseloads  More
  • DfE seeking commissioner, July 2017 average 4 days per month for 12 months, costs up to £48,960. Tender document 
  • Systemic failure, DfE July 2017
  • Commissioners Report completed March 2017, published September 2017, LA unable to make required improvements, must look at alternatives, Leeds to provide assistance in short term, willing to look at longer-term formal partnership, being President of ADCS during time of decline meant then Director of Children’s Services was away from Kirklees too much  More
  • Ofsted December 2017   pace of change too slow, widespread and serious failures, deterioration in management of risk to vulnerable children and quality of decision-making and assessment
  • Ofsted April 2018  small amount of progress in strengthening foundations for service improvement
  • Revised statutory direction January 2018  LA must have partnership agreement with Leeds council for the latter to deliver all Kirklees children’s social care functions, Director of Children’s Services Leeds is also to be Director for Kirklees,  DfE to undertake performance reviews every 6 months
  • NORTH DIRECTION 

KNOWSLEY

LAMBETH

 

LANCASHIRE 

OFSTED SEND INSPECTION 2018   WRITTEN STATEMENT OF ACTION REQUIRED, AREAS SIGNIFICANT WEAKNESS

 

LEICESTER CITY 

 

MANCHESTER 

  • Manchester  First declared inadequate in September 2014
  • DfE Direction Letter/Improvement Notice (March 2015, Government MAY appoint advisor, Council must set up Improvement Board including Independent Chair Edwina Grant (also with the Local Government Association and Chair of Solihull Local Safeguarding Children Board)
  • Investment ahead of Ofsted, July 2016 (“From a financial perspective the Prime Minister’s announcement in December 2015 indicates potentially significant financial implications for local authorities that fail their Ofsted multiple times”)
  • Ofsted October 2016 (made some progress)
  • Ofsted January 2017   made some progress More
  • Ofsted June 2017   areas of strength, areas where improvement is occurring, and areas that require more focus and development (* visit was in MARCH but publication of letter delayed by general election)
  • Ofsted July 2017  progress still mixed (* visit was in June)
  • Ofsted December 2017 out of inadequate, moved to requires improvement More
  • NORTH WEST   IMPROVEMENT NOTICE

 

NORFOLK 

 

READING 

 

ROTHERHAM 

 

SANDWELL 

OFSTED SEND INSPECTION 2017    WRITTEN STATEMENT OF ACTION REQUIRED, AREAS SIGNIFICANT WEAKNESS

 

SLOUGH

 

SOMERSET 

 

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE 

OFSTED SEND INSPECTION 2018     WRITTEN STATEMENT OF ACTION REQUIRED, AREAS SIGNIFICANT WEAKNESS

SUNDERLAND 

 

SURREY

SEE ALSO OFSTED SEND INSPECTION LETTER SURREY    WRITTEN STATEMENT ACTION REQUIRED DUE TO SIGNIFICANT AREAS OF WEAKNESS SPECIAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY
  • Surrey First declared inadequate in 2008 (subsequently found “adequate” but then inadequate again in June 2015 (following inspection October/November 2014)
  • DfE Direction Letter/Improvement Notice  January 2016, Government appointed advisor Rose Durban.
  • Improvement Programme links here.                                                                           
  • Improvement Board  (chaired by Deputy Leader Surrey Council, ie NOT an Independent Chair)
  • Ofsted September 2016   (5th monitoring visit since deemed inadequate in 2015, beginning to make progress, from a low starting point, west of county is better than east)
  • Ofsted February 2017 continuing to make progress, more work to be done
  • Ofsted June 2017         continues to improve with notable progress in some areas 
  • Ofsted September 2017   some strengths + areas where improvement only recently accelerated +  some areas action required to address weaknesses
  • Ofsted November 2017 progress too slow, LA taking too long to address critical weaknesses   More
  • Dave Hill DC Essex to become DC Surrey, March 2018
  • Ofsted May 2018 full reinspection, still inadequate, leaders and elected members far too slow to accept and act on findings and recommendations of 2014 inspection,   more
  • 3 neighbouring councils (Hampshire, Essex and Hertfordshire) to assist Surrey + Commissioner to be appointed, May 2018    More
  • SOUTH EAST  IMPROVEMENT NOTICE

TAMESIDE 

TORBAY 

TOWER HAMLETS

  • Ofsted April 2017   Council failing to meet ‘basic social work standards; Tower Hamlets was placed in the hands of government-appointed commissioners in 2015, with full powers only being restored to the council in March 2017 Political changes  More   
  • DfE Direction September 2017   appointing  Lincolnshire County Council  and Islington as Intervention Advisers  (Partners in Practice) More + Alan Wood (DfE Advisor, formerly in Hackney, former president ADCS, author of Wood Review advising scrapping LSCBs) as Chair of Improvement Board. More 
  • Ofsted January 2018    some improvement but more work to be done   More
  • Ofsted May 2018  reviewing out-of-hours emergency duty team + service provided to children at risk of being radicalised, gangs, knife crime More
  • LONDON      DIRECTION 

WANDSWORTH 

WEST BERKSHIRE

WIRRAL

 

WORCESTERSHIRE

SEE ALSO OFSTED/CQC SEND INSPECTION    WORCESTERSHIRE MAY 2018  SIGNIFICANT AREAS OF WEAKNESS, WRITTEN STATEMENT OF ACTION REQUIRED

 

SUMMING UP

“Ofsted will usually re-inspect a local authority judged inadequate at its last inspection within two years of it submitting its action plan. The deadline for the local authority to submit its action plan is within 70 working days of receiving its pre-publication inspection report. A re-inspection will not usually take place until there have been at least four quarterly monitoring visits. This is because our evidence shows it is unlikely a local authority will be able to demonstrate sufficient improvement to alter its inspection outcome in less than a year.
Ofsted will tell the local authority when they decide that a re-inspection is the appropriate next step. At this point no further monitoring visits will be scheduled. Ofsted will not tell the local authority when that re-inspection will take place. The timing of the inspection is not within a prescribed timeframe but will be in the coming months. Ofsted will want to see that the improvements identified in the monitoring visits have been maintained.
Local authorities found to be inadequate across all or most areas will receive a full repeat single inspection. For local authorities in which inadequacy is less widespread – for example, a local authority that is inadequate in either, help and protection or children looked after – Ofsted may undertake a ‘post-monitoring single inspection’ instead.
The scope of the post-monitoring single inspection is the same as the single inspection and inspectors will make the same judgements. Inspectors will be on site for less time than in a full inspection under the SIF. The shorter fieldwork is possible because of the substantial body of evidence gathered by Ofsted on its quarterly monitoring visits.”  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/monitoring-local-authority-childrens-services-judged-inadequate-guidance-for-inspectors

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/01/19/new-service-models-shaking-childrens-social-work/ January 19th 2017

On December 16th 2016 the Public Accounts Committee published its report  into the state of child protection in England saying that the Government must end complacency over children at risk of harm, and that there was still no credible plan to improve services.

“When things are going wrong locally it must intervene earlier—and to do that, it must use the information available to monitor and address emerging problems. It is not good enough to wait for the verdict of Ofsted’s routine inspections.”  http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/child-protection-report-published-16-17/

 

The focus is therefore on assessing capacity for improvement.

The Local Government Association has also commissioned Isos Partnership  to look at research into improvement in children’s services, focusing on INVESTMENT and STRUCTURES.

 

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104 thoughts on “Intervention Level In Authorities Rated Inadequate by Ofsted

  1. Fiona Nicholson Post author

    May 17th added new direction for Croydon + link to Worcestershire May 2018 SEND inspection letter (written statement of action required) and Surrey 2016 SEND inspection letter (written statement of action required)

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    Reply

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