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Ofsted Berates Lambeth for Leaving Too Many Children Unprotected

September 21, 2016 1:10 PM

Labour-run Lambeth has a long and sad history of poor practice regarding children in its care and Ofsted's latest report suggests that the beleaguered authority is still not getting to grips with the situation nearly fast enough.

True to form, Lambeth has appointed some new senior management but its social workers on the front line are left struggling with problematic case workloads often going back many years. The report suggests that many social workers have over 20 child assessment cases to deal with at any one time and that too few staff means that agency staff are routinely employed to fill the gaps leading to further inconsistency as well as higher costs to the local taxpayer.

Worse, Lambeth has an historic high incidence of child sexual exploitation. Ofsted Inspectors have again highlighted inadequate systems in place to protect children from harm and suggest that very little progress has been made in this key area since the highly critical 2015 inspection. Inspectors highlighted cases where children identified as being at risk of sexual exploitation had been on child protection plans for more than 12 months and yet were still left at risk.

In conclusion, the highly critical inspection in July found only limited progress in most of the inadequate areas highlighted the year before. It said, " Leaders accept Ofsted's findings that too many vulnerable children are being insufficiently helped and safeguarded from harm. The changes required need to accelerate considerably."

Labour has a very poor record of safeguarding children in its care and is still working with police to uncover numerous alleged abuses in its former children's homes. This latest report demonstrates most shockingly that even the most basic systems are still not yet in place for anyone to have any real confidence that children at risk in Lambeth today will be treated any differently.

Children in Lambeth are still not receiving the high level of care that they deserve and that we all would expect. Things need to change fast.