Waltham Forest has shown “improved arrangements to assess and review the health of looked after children” after being deemed “inadequate” in 2011, according to a review by the Care Quality Commission.
It is one the first local authorities to be inspected under the CQC’s new framework for reviewing services for looked after children and safeguarding. The services were previously inspected jointly by the CQC and Ofsted.
While the new framework no longer assigns ratings, the review noted “improved arrangements” in assessing looked after children are “resulting in more comprehensive health plans being developed to improve their health”.
Rates of initial health assessments being completed within the statutory timescale rose from 44% in 2011/12 to 69% in 2012/13, according to the review.
It said Waltham Forest clinical commissioning group “has had a difficult start” but “good progress is being made” and “the CCG is demonstrating strong leadership, particularly in relation to safeguarding”.
It observed that child protection planning is “much improved” and “professionals from organisations are better at holding each other to account and minimising drift”, however “GP engagement in child protection” was described as “underdeveloped”.
The review said GPs “do not routinely respond to repeated requests from school nurses and other professionals for information relating to the health of children subject to child protection plans” and their “attendance at child protection conferences is very rare”.
Helen Davenport, director of quality and governance at Waltham Forest CCG, said the CCG recognises “the report highlights areas for improvement, but “overall we are pleased” with it. She added there has been a “significant improvement from 2011 to where we are now”.
Care Quality Commission - Review of Health Services for Children Looked After and Safeguarding in Waltham Forest