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Medway Council cabinet members respond to government report into children's services department

Medway Council will continue to be scrutinised by a government commissioner for the next year following a report on the failing standards of its children's services

It was given three months to turn things around following the publication of a damning Ofsted report which concluded the department was 'Inadequate'.

Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council (16086070)
Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council (16086070)

The government appointed commissioner Eleanor Brazil to conduct a three-month audit of the authority’s department, which covers around 65,000 children and young people under the age of 18 in Medway.

Mrs Brazil's report concluded the council was “still failing to perform to an adequate standard”.

Among the concerns raised were the the pace and drive to deliver improvements and social workers having high case loads.

Addressing members of the council's cabinet on Tuesday, January 14, Cllr Josie Iles (Con), portfolio holder for children’s services, said: "I think the main focus is re-thinking and re-shaping the service to achieve sustainable improvements and sustainability is key in this and also working at pace to implement these steps."

Council leader Alan Jarrett said: "Allocation of resources wasn't a criticism in the report, but quite clearly, to reduce the caseloads, we'll need more social workers and that is why we have put significantly extra funds in already and only as recently as last month we agreed another trance of funding of over a million pounds."

Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett (14074500)
Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett (14074500)

Mr Jarrett also confirmed Mrs Brazil will be continuing her work at the council for the next year.

She will be expected to report back to the Minister for Children and Families within six months.

Among the ways the council aims to address the concerns is the recruitment of two new assistant director roles within the department to head up to replace the deputy director role previous held by Anne Domeney, who resigned following the publication of the Ofsted report at the end of August.

The council has also set up an independently-chaired improvement board to monitor the progress of the changes.

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