significant progress in improving children's services since their last
inspection two years ago. The SSI came back to reinspect children's services in February 2002 and their report, along with the council's action plan, was discussed at the council's executive meeting last night. They found that out of the 26 recommendations from the prevous inspection in June 2000, 14 have been achieved mainly or in full, eight have been partially achieved and only four remain outstanding. Inspectors noted a number of positive aspects that include:
* all child protection and looked after children's cases were allocated and initial assessment services had improved.
care was managed
* supervision and decision making by managers were evident in case files
* plans for further improvement were welcomedHowever there were still areas of weakness that Haringey needs to address.
The council has drawn up an action plan in response to each area of concern:
* recruiting and retaining a stable and experienced workforce for children's
services - last week the council agreed a new package of measures covering
increase pay and benefits including a guaranteed number of training days,
access to research organisations, flexible working arrangements, induction
programme and up to ten key worker flats.
* improving staff morale - the new pay and benefits package are intended to
go some way towards addressing this issue alongside a programme of site
visits by senior management, improved internal communications and divisional
meetings of staff to enable them to contribute to the development of
* developing family support services - a new family support service to be
set up in Tottenham to offer intensive support to families who are at risk
of breaking down and the child(ren) being put into the council's care in the
future. Four new posts of family support workers are to be created to work
with families directly and also co-ordinate other support from voluntary
organisatons. In addition a crisis intervention service is to be
established to work with families with teenage children at risk of going
into care because of family breakdown. This new service will work closely
with a new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
* focusing work with homeless families on accommodation issues away from
front-line social work - two social care staff will work alongside
homelessness officers to assess families under the Children's Act
* develop child protection systems further by more effective inter-agency
working and monitoring the protection offered to children from minority
ethnic groups - new child protection procedures are to be launched by the
area child protection committee on 9 July that address issues around more
frequent inter-agency meetings on child protection cases and ensuring that
children from all ethnic groups are given the same degree of protection.
Takki Sulaiman, executive member for social services and health,
welcomed the inspection report: 'This report confirms the significant
progress we have made over the past two years and recognises the commitment
of everyone at Haringey to continue improving. 'The action plan sets out clearly how we will continue this rate of improvement and deliver better and better services to those people who need us. A key priority for us in the coming year will be to develop
preventative services that support families before they reach crisis point.
'Research shows quite clearly that those children who go into care do not do
as well in life as others, especially teenagers who are unlikely to be found
foster placements. That's why we must do all we can to protect children
from harm but also step in and offer support before it reaches that stage.'
* see herefor the full SSI report.