Demonstration calls for independent review of 'inadequate' children's services in Luton

A protest is to be held at Luton Town Hall on Wednesday (May 11) calling for an independent review of Children’s Services in Luton following an ‘inadequate’ rating by Ofsted.

By Olga Norford
Monday, 9th May 2022, 2:33 pm
Updated Monday, 9th May 2022, 2:34 pm

The ‘Forced Adoptions - We Want Our Children Back’ protest, is to be held between 11am and 2pm.

The action and petition, organised by the Save The Woman group, calls for an independent review into children’s services which it claims ‘is having a negative impact on children, families and the wider community in Luton’.

Luton Borough Council said it was 'truly sorry' after children's services were rated 'inadequate' in February 2020.

A demonstration is being held next Wednesday to protest against Luton children's services following an 'Inadequate' report by Ofsted. (Archive Image)

It also announced it was urgently reviewing its children's services following the damning inspection by Ofsted, which issued its lowest grade.

Olalekan Odedeyi, chief executive and founder of Save the Woman, said: “We are calling for an independent review of Luton Children’s Services and a review of all open cases where children are at risk of forced adoption and stuck in the social care system and their parents want them back.”

She added: “Families across Luton are suffering in silence because of the inadequate decisions of Luton children’s services who are breaching statutory assessment timescales.

“They are setting families up to fail, routinely giving false hope, making contact arrangements difficult between child/ren in care and biological parent(s) and, as a result ,working against families and children, the very people they are supposed to protect and serve.”

A monitoring report by Ofsted in December 2021 stated: “There has been some progress and improvement in the service that is given to children in need and those in need of protection since the inspection in January 2020. Leaders recognise there remains too much variability in the quality of work and the pace of change for children and families.

"They have put in place a range of activities to provide extra oversight of children. However, the support children receive does not currently always deliver progress and improvement in their lives swiftly enough. There is more to do to ensure that practice is of a consistent quality to improve the experience and progress of children.”

A spokesman for Luton Children’s Services said: “We believe children belong in families. Wherever possible this should be their own family but, if not, then another family environment where they feel secure, nurtured and loved and are able to be supported through childhood and beyond. A judge will only grant an adoption order if they believe this is in the best interest of the child.

"Since the Ofsted inspection in January 2020, we have made a number of improvements, including the introduction of our Early Help service, where children and their families are benefiting from early interventions. Our Family Partnership Service helps us to effectively target resources to support the most vulnerable of our families as part of this.

“Together, with our partner agencies, we have worked tirelessly to put in place these and other additional measures to strengthen our social work practice and our most recent monitoring visit by Ofsted inspectors in December 2021 recognised this. However, we recognise we will still have further progress to make and we will continue to build upon the work we have already completed.”