Ofsted rates Tower Hamlets Council’s Children’s Service as ‘good’ two years after widespread failures

Ofsted has rated Tower Hamlets Council’s Children’s Service as ‘good’, a full two years after the service was damned with an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

This is ‘remarkable progress’ according to Ofsted after the council set itself the target of achieving a good rating following the previous inspection in 2017. A rating of ‘needs improvement’ sits between inadequate and good.

Ofsted ratings timeline

  • 2012 – Good overall with outstanding features
  • 2017 – Inadequate
  • 2019 – Good

2012 – ‘Good overall with outstanding features’

Back then, the council was rebuilding itself after the government had sent in Commissioners following the removal of Mayor Lutfur Rahman in 2015.

During Rahman’s administration Children’s Services were found to be ‘good overall with outstanding features’ at the Ofsted inspection of 2012.

2017 – No idea what was going on

Between 2015 and 2017 the Labour administration of Mayor John Biggs presided over plummeting standards of Children’s Services. To make matters worse nobody knew what was going on until Ofsted visited and told them.

At the time of the inadequate rating Ofsted commented that ”Insufficient scrutiny by the chief executive [Will Tuckley], the Director of Children’s Services [Debbie Jones] and politicians [Mayor Biggs administration] has meant that they did not know about the extent of the failures to protect children until this inspection.”

The latest Ofsted report can be downloaded here.

Children’s Services Director Debbie Jones has been reported as saying that her staff ‘got children’s services off the naughty step’. 

What needs to improve

Ofsted have identified three areas where Children’s Services still needs to improve.

  • The quality of plans for children in need across the family support and protection teams in order to ensure that they are consistently good or better
  • The response and oversight of work in relation to allegations made against professionals.
  • The quality and coordination of plans to support children returning home from care to remain with their families.

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