Ofsted Children’s Services Monitoring Visit Report.

Just been reminded of some unfinished business, the Ofsted report: Children’s Services Monitoring Visit Report, from last November. It will repay careful reading and analysis.

To get your own copy, https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/local_authority_reports/rotherham/054_Monitoring%20visit%20of%20LA%20children%27s%20services%20as%20pdf.pdf

or read on.

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All Ofsted reports on Rotherham: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/rotherham

14 thoughts on “Ofsted Children’s Services Monitoring Visit Report.

  1. Rik

    It is pertinent that this Ofsted report was dated 20/21st November 2016 following an Ofsted monitoring visit a month earlier on 20/21st October. This was the FOURTH Ofsted monitoring visit to take place between 2015 and 2016.

    Set this report against a £12m overspend (at the same time it was announced in the Rotherham Advertiser this was a much lower figure of £7m) including the high cost of consultants and it does little to allay fears regarding both the quality and progress of Children’s Services in Rotherham.

    There has been much emphasis upon systems, processes and staffing. Thomas’s view of upgrading pay (including his own), social workers and using agency staff will make everything alright does not translate into Best Value for Money.

    Evaluation and Monitoring as is Safeguarding are major omission. Not least ,the absence of ‘challenge from managers to their front line staff’ maintains the old and inefficient culture.Case load has reduced yet practice is inconsistent and not evident in children placed outside the authority.

    The ‘DCS is highly visible’ makes one wonder what was the evidence used for this judgement? Thomas is a serious self promoter as we know.

    Thomas can be found at Magna during Election Vote Counts and attending high profile High Court trials(neither of which have any need or role for him)but he enjoys cultivating the press and being ‘seen’. His Look North interviews tell us nothing other than his interpretation of ‘improvement’ is ‘about getting systems and processes in place’.

    Really? I doubt if he could describe ‘quality’ of a Children’s Service if it was written on a wall for him.Safeguarding remains misunderstood and lacks the systems for picking up all vulnerable children. Some of us can recall the recent time when he informed Wickersley parents that the Safeguarding of children was the responsibility of the government as Wickersley School was an academy. Really?

    Thomas is an over inflated, expensive resource who called the tune for an increased £30k ransom pay rise upon his appointment who no doubt ‘talked a good talk’. There is no doubt he cannot ‘walk it’. RMBC selection procedures and members of panels need urgent review.

    Wonder when folk will wake up to such poor value and Thomas’s lack of leadership of not ‘walking the walk’, nor his managers’ ability to lead given the evidence of failure to challenge and inconsistent practice including front line staff. Time is no doubt, running out for him.

    A poor fourth report all round given its context and lack of progress.

    See all Ofsted reports on:
    Rotherham: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/rotherham


    • You have mentioned Ian Thomas attending court cases and said he has no need to be there. He does! 1. I was the main complainant in Clover 2 and It was important to me that he was there, to show support on behalf of RMBC.
      2. It was important because apart from the Clover team he has been my main source of support. Which isn’t actually his job.
      3. What I can say about Ian Thomas is he goes out of his way to put things right and to put support in place when someone asks for help.
      4. He welcomes survivors to tell him what services they are receiving from RMBC and if they are acceptable. He’s the only head of service I’ve even know, in the UK, to have a survivor turn up to voice their opinion about what isn’t happening and invite them into his office, without an appointment, and with a 3 year old in tow. I know this because I was that person. That to me shows dedication. I can’t ever remember Joyce Thacker meeting anyone. It was harder to get a meeting with her than the pope!
      5. His learning for future cases and victims what came from listening to survivors, in court, will be invaluable.
      So I know you may feel it was a waste of time and a publicity stunt but I can assure you, as a survivor of CSE, it wasn’t. Mistakes may be made because nothing ever goes to plan or runs perfectly but mistakes are very different to failings. Mistakes cause a bump in the road, failings cause further trauma.


  2. White Clouds are you reading the same letter as me (above)? The first two bullets set the tone with words such as ‘detetmined’ ‘effective’ ‘strategic’. It talks about progress made with children feeling safe in their placements with clearly much more to be done in relation to frontline practice. Add to the Director’s Ofsted Report from his previous authority in Derbyshire and one wonders on what basis you form your judgements. Ofsted clearly has a view!


    • Jeffrey Smith
      ‘Ofsted clearly has a view’. Go back and read the previous inspection reports and you will see just how far off the mark they were. Hence Osted’s apology to the Select Committee following the Jay Report as to ‘their view’ and why it had continued to have been so wildly off the mark.


      • So, you can’t have it both ways. You are either using selective extracts from the letter to justify your assertions or not. I’m not going to waste any more of my time after this post defending someone I don’t know but based on the letter above, especially the first two paragraphs under ‘evaluation of progress’ readers are left in no doubt whatsoever about the effectiveness of his leadership. The same goes for his previous authority’s report. If there is evidence to the contrary that is a BETTER authority than Ofsted, present it or at the very least report examples of his ineptitude to the relevant government departments now for the sake of Rotherham’s children. I am a resident proud of my Town and pleased to see powers such as licencing being returned. Therefore my belief is that any appraisal should be objective and based on the facts before us at all times.


  3. Jeffrey Smith
    Just by way of example, do you not regard this a very serious failing?
    “However, frontline management oversight of social work practice is weak.
    Social workers are neither supported nor challenged sufficiently by managers to improve the quality of their work.”


    • Thanks Rothpol. I promised not to comment further but given the site’s owner has weighed in and in the interest of seeing our Town recover..I’m not sure I’ve read anywhere that the council or police say their job is done. I didn’t say the letter suggested it either. It says clearly progress has been made in this particular area but less than other areas of the service and that there is more to be done. You pull out an extract which any objective reader could counter repeatedly upon review, especially in relation to the Senior leadership and explicitly in favour of the director. I’m no expert on this and unsure of how long it takes to turn around a failing service such as children’s services but I can read! If people have evidence contrary to this letter regarding strategy, determination, vision and understanding of improving children’s outcomes they should whistle blow to the government departments or even the Prime Minister herself given Rotherham’s high profile.


      • Jeffrey Smith

        ‘Staff not funding to blame or failing Children’s Services in Doncaster and Doncaster’ – Ofsted Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw June 2016.

        How long have vulnerable children got to wait to be protected?


        • White Clouds there you go again contradicting yourself. Either Ofsted is credible or not. Further, having just read the report in question it talks in general terms about why children’s services fail nationally. References are made to Doncaster and Rotherham but these areas being rated in inadequate at their last full inspection (Rotherham late 2014) isn’t news I’m afraid. It will pain you, given your previous postings but maybe you should read reports (if/ when you decide credible) with a little more care. Alternatively, of you have information about the Director’s deficiency such as the academy safety comment in front of parents (which I don’t profess to understand but sounds quite damning) why not use to your advantage and tell the government for the sake of our children?


  4. Points 4 and 5 in the summary of findings say nothings changed at the bottom, theres not enough money left in the pot to protect the ones that need protecting the most. All these professionals (for want of a better word) taking wads of cash, to do nothing but spin the same old yarn. Dont matter how many papers they write, child sexual exploitation is not being stopped. Even the language of it cse , just nicer isnt it ? Or is it? Child Sexual Exploitation , CHILD ABUSE . All these words they spout , that cost a mint. But when we get to the reason were all here, abuse of vulnerable children, its been minimised to, just a little cse, nothing to cse here, move on……. we can come back to how these children are suffering in a few decades, or not, either way their jobs are safe, never mind the children.


  5. Given OFSTED’s reports over the previous decade or so concerning CSE in Rotherham and their apology to the Select Committee , post Jay,I would question their ability to perform any sort of reasonable inspection at this time.


  6. Pingback: Staff, not funding to blame for failing children’s services in Rotherham and Doncaster – Ofsted | Rotherham Politics

  7. Reading this report, it clearly shows that the system in Rotherham is still not working. When you get a comment like “child protection procedures not been followed”, you have to ask what have they been doing all this time. Remember that not following the procedures got Rotherham on the country`s radar in the first place.
    Another report, still not up to standard,
    So when was the head of children`s services called into the Chief Executive`s office to explain the failings ?.
    So when was the Councillor, who has overall control of the Children`s portfolio, called in front of the leader to account for the failing ?
    And when was the same councillor held to account by the Council Chamber ?.
    Don`t hold your breath, and that`s the problem, still failing, still no one being held to account.


  8. Pingback: The Week That Was – Last Weeks Top Ten 7th January 2017 | Rotherham Politics

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