We spoke to social care professionals who worked with looked after children to understand the reasons for the delays. We found:
There was a lack of understanding about the IHA process
Varying quality of communication and interaction between social worker teams and the health team at Mary Sheridan Centre responsible for conducting the assessments
Our recommendations have led to the introduction of a comprehensive induction and training of all social workers and a system for monitoring and follow ups on referrals. This has since led to a reduction of delays with 70% of children and young people being assessed on time.
Merlin Joseph, Strategic Director of Children’s Services said:
“We have welcomed Healthwatch Lambeth’s input in supporting us to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of our children, young people and families who our services are in contact with to ensure we learn, respond and develop to better meet their needs. This has included Healthwatch working with our children’s social workers to have a focus on improving the timeliness of initial health assessments for our children looked after. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming year to support our ambition to listen to our local communities and ensure our services are responsive and outcome focus.”
Read our full report here: