Council Told ‘Make Kids A Priority’

Labour has warned Ealing’s kids may suffer at the hands of the Conservative-led council – despite children’s services being praised in a recent government report. The report by Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Inspection said Ealing’s overall children’s social care grade was “good” and the capacity for further improvement was “excellent”. But Labour councillors say that if the children are not made a council priority their services will suffer.

Councillor Sonika Nirwal (Greenford Broadway), leader of the opposition said: “The education and wellbeing of children and young people has always been a top priority for Labour and these excellent results vindicate the commitments made by the previous Labour administration to improve children’s services. So far the Conservatives haven’t said much about their vision for our young people, and are threatening cuts of up to 8% for departments just like this one. They have told us their three priorities, and improving children’s services is not one of them.”

But the Conservatives say the report shows the commitment of council staff to tackle the previous problems with children’s services. Councillor Ian Gibb, (Cleveland) cabinet member for Children’s Services and Deputy Leader of the Council said: “Only two years ago, Ealing was viewed as having uncertain’ prospects for improving children’s services. The progress from that to excellent’ is exceptional.

“This result reflects the hard work, dedication and leadership of our staff, particularly senior management, who have been committed to tackling areas of weakness that past assessments have identified. The council will continue to build on this success to ensure that we are delivering appropriate and high quality services, which our children and young people deserve.”

Among the areas identified by inspectors as “key strengths” was child protection, good results in A and AS levels and the reduction in teenage pregnancies.

Areas that require improvement are assessing young offenders with substance misuse problems, reducing the over representation of black and minority ethnic young people in the criminal justice system and the educational achievements of Somali boys.