Haringey Council rating falls after Baby P case
Robyn Rosen HARINGEY council has fallen from a three-star to a one-star rating – the lowest in London – in an assessment by a national watchdog. The news comes just days after the council set up a new board of experts to improve children s services. Hari
HARINGEY council has fallen from a three-star to a one-star rating - the lowest in London - in an assessment by a national watchdog.
The news comes just days after the council set up a new board of experts to improve children's services.
Haringey was one of only four boroughs in the country to receive a one star rating and was described as "not improving adequately," by the Audit Committee, which assesses the performance of councils and the services that they provide for local people.
It was given one star out of four for its children and young people services, which because of the way it is weighted, brought the overall rating down.
Jackie Barry-Purssell, senior manager at the Audit Commission, said: "Haringey is not improving adequately. The council's failure in its key priority to safeguard children has been publicly reported and it currently delivers an inadequate service for children and young people.
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"There is now new managerial and political leadership of this service, but it is too early to tell whether such changes will lead to improvement.
"There remains a considerable challenge to improve quickly in areas such as environment and homelessness and to reduce the level of teenage pregnancies.
New council leader Cllr Claire Kober said: "This rating clearly reflects the serious problems identified with our children's services at the end of last year.
"We accept that things went badly wrong with child protection. We are committed to making things right.
"We need to make major changes in this area. We have started that process, and I am determined to drive through the changes needed.
"Our answer to our overall rating will be to improve our children's safeguarding services and maintain and build on our performance in other areas, increasing the pace of our improvement.
In other services Haringey was given three stars for libraries, leisure and recreation services, value for money, environmental services, adult social care and housing.
Meanwhile, a new Quality Outcomes Board has been set up after Cllr Kober admitted that "external advice" was the only way to improve the borough's failing reputation.
The board will bring together the expertise of members across London, including Hackney mayor Jules Pipe, Ealing chief executive Darra Singh, and Kensington and Chelsea director for families and children Anne Marie Carrie, who will be working with Cllr Kober over the coming 12 months.
The board, which will begin work in March, will set out to improve relationships between social workers and police officers, recruit top quality staff, and strengthen safeguarding and procedures.
Cllr Kober, who will chair the board, said: "I am determined to drive through the changes needed, and this is a voluntary group of critical friends that will work as a sounding board for our progress.
"Opening ourselves up to external advice, support and challenge in this way can only strengthen our efforts and assist our improvement plans.