The Lead Member for Children’s Services has commented on the Commissioner’s report and recommendation.
Cllr Josie Iles said: “We fully accept the Commissioner’s report and are grateful for the support and guidance we have received from her during our improvement journey, and that the Minister has agreed with her recommendation.
“Our main focus is ensuring sustainable improvements are made quickly so Medway’s children in need of our help and protection receive the service they deserve.
“We have submitted our improvement action plan to Ofsted to set out the steps we are taking to transform our social care for children, young people and their families. We recognise the importance of having a clear delivery strategy setting out priorities and direction through which we can achieve positive changes in the lives of Medway’s vulnerable children and young people.
“We are committed to making immediate changes and have already taken a number of urgent steps to improve the service we deliver, including recruiting additional social workers to help reduce caseloads and provide more efficient support to young people. We are also progressing with recruitment of two new Assistant Directors of Children’s Services and Education to improve the leadership of our Children’s Services. The newly established Improvement Board, which has an independent chair, is helping to ensure there is a clear plan to support change and that we remain clearly focussed on the recommendations set out by the Commissioner and Ofsted. Colleagues from our leading partner agencies, including education, health and police, are central to the effectiveness of the board and this is helping us all to work better together for Medway’s children. Internally, we have created a Staff Reference Group to give colleagues working in Children’s Services the opportunity to have their input to our improvement journey, and this group, which is also represented on the Improvement Board, is working well.
“We welcome the recommendation to work with a leadership improvement partner and already have a number of strong partnerships in place with other local authorities to adopt best practice and strengthen the quality of our services.
“There is still much to be done but we are fully committed to transforming the service we provide for children and young people in need of our help and protection, as well as for children in our care. Our priority is to ensure all of Medway’s children thrive, remain healthy and learn well. We will continue to make sustainable improvements so the service we provide for Medway’s children continues to improve. What’s important now is that we work at pace to implement these steps and make the necessary improvements, whilst minimising the disruption caused to children and families.
“We are grateful for the Commissioner’s support during our improvement journey and we will continue to work with her and our partner agencies over the coming months.”