Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Solihull Council told to improve social services by Government - The Solihull Observer
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15th Aug, 2022

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Solihull Council told to improve social services by Government

Sarah Mason 1st Mar, 2022

SOLIHULL Council has been ordered to make urgent changes to its children’s social services by the Government.

The Improvement Order was handed to the Council on Monday (February 28) a week after a damming report by Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) was published.

The JTAI, which was launched by Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi following the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, found a number of failings in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) in Solihull.

Since then the Department for Education has stepped in calling on the council to improve services for children across the borough.

This improvement notice requires the Council to take steps to improve its children’s social care functions.

If the Council fails to comply with the notice it risks having the central government step in to take action.

The notice says: “This Improvement Notice is issued to Solihull Council on February 28 following concerns around serious weaknesses in parts of the council’s children’s social care functions, and evidence of unassessed and unknown risk.

“The Council should implement an improvement plan that will deliver appropriate and sustainable improvement.”

The improvement order went on to say that former children’s services chief Gladys Rhodes-White had been appointed as an improvement adviser to work with the council.

This is alongside Penny Thompson who has been brought in as an independent chair for the Improvement Board announced by Solihull Council leader, Councillor Ian Courts, last week.

Following the Improvement Notice Coun Courts said: “The Council recognised the urgency of the situation and we have already set up an Improvement Board.

“This will drive through the necessary changes, as outlined in the recent JTAI, in both Solihull’s LSCP and within the organisations that make up the Partnership – the Council, West Midlands Police, Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group and Probation Services.

“We welcome the extra support and guidance the Department for Education is providing to us through its Improvement Notice and the appointment of Gladys Rhodes-White as their Improvement Adviser, who will also to join our Improvement Board.

“The Improvement Board will make sure partners meet the actions outlined in our Improvement Plan, to continue to ensure all children, young people and their families in Solihull are safeguarded and appropriately supported by all the organisations with a responsibility for protecting them from harm.”

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