‘Special measures’ is not a term that the Department uses with reference to its engagement with local authority children’s services. Ministers may take action to engage with and intervene in local authorities where there is evidence of weakness in performance, for example as the result of ‘inadequate’ Ofsted judgment(s) in annual performance assessments (APAs) and joint area reviews (JARs). Such intervention can take various forms, from offering external improvement support, enhanced monitoring and challenge through to issuing an improvement notice (IN) in more serious cases. In the most serious cases, the Secretary of State may decide to make use of his statutory powers of direction and intervention.
In the last five years, Ministers have made use of their statutory powers of direction in relation to north-east Lincolnshire (2005), Stoke-on-Trent (2007) and Haringey (2008), and have issued improvement notices to Salford, Leicester City and Surrey. We have also intervened without the use of statutory powers or improvement notices in various local authorities, deploying a range of improvement support options, including external consultancy support teams, independently-chair improvement boards and enhanced monitoring arrangements. These authorities were:
Isle of Wight