Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|22 Jul 2019, 4:46 p.m.||Social Services: Children||Thelma Walker|
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve local authority support for vulnerable children.
Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)
We are providing local authorities with more money to support vulnerable children, with an additional £410 million invested this year across adults’ and children’s social care. Separately, we are investing £84 million over 5 years to drive improvements in children’s services across local authorities, especially through early intervention.
In 2018, the department introduced a new, tougher Ofsted inspection framework to drive improvement in children’s services. The department intervenes robustly in every local authority judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, bringing in experts to assess which improvements will ensure better services. This might include removing service delivery from the council’s control by establishing a trust, giving children’s services a fresh start.
Since May 2010, 46 local authorities have been lifted out of intervention and have not returned, and the number of inadequate local authorities has reduced from 30 to 19 since July 2017. We aim to continue making these improvements at pace so that, by 2022, less than 10% of local authorities are rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, halving failure rates within 5 years and providing consistently better services for thousands of children and families across the country.
To get ahead of failure, we are investing an additional £20 million in our regional improvement strategy, working collaboratively with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Local Government Association, Solace and the rest of the sector to identify local authorities that need additional support. Our Regional Improvement Alliances and high-performing ‘Partners in Practice’ local authorities support those at risk of failure, embedding a system of sector-led improvement with more than 70 local authorities receiving support to date.