Category Archives: Community & Children’s Services

Aldgate Community Events / City Play East – briefing event on Tue 17 Jan

The City, under the oversight of the Community & Children’s Services committee (which I chair), is working with community representatives and organisations, and a nationally renowned theatre company, on a thrilling programme of events and opportunities for local residents and workers in 2017 and 2018.

The programme developed by Aldgate Community Events (ACE), will include:

  • Aldgate Heritage trail
  • Aldgate Treasures displays in suitcases,
  • Aldgate Voices recordings
  • Winter in Aldgate 2017 events
  • The Aldgate Tales play
  • Workshops covering mask-making, performance skills, local history research etc.

Please join ACE from 3:30-5pm on Tuesday 17 January 2017 at Bevis Marks Synagogue, 4 Heneage Lane EC3A for tea and cakes and find out more and how you can get involved.

Further dates and details of all events can be found here.

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City & Hackney Local Safeguarding Children Board becomes the first in country to receive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgement

The City & Hackney Local Safeguarding Children Board has become the first in the country to receive an ‘outstanding’ judgement, following an Ofsted inspection of the City of London Corporation’s children’s services.

In the report, inspectors looked at all areas of the Corporation’s service, including its support to children that need help and protection, children in care and care leavers.

The Corporation’s senior leadership team also became only the sixth local authority in England to receive an ‘outstanding’ award. Overall, Ofsted rated its children’s services as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ aspects.

Ofsted said the Corporation’s “inspiring leaders” had shown “outstanding leadership, management and governance” in providing “exceptional outcomes” for children in its care.

The report says that the Corporation’s looked after children are provided with good education and healthcare, many leisure opportunities, high-quality independent fostering placements and a very effective social work support. Support can continue up to and sometimes beyond, the age of 25, whether or not they are in full-time education.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Community & Children’s Services Committee, said:

“This result is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff and practitioners. We are committed to helping the children in our care to do well in their lives and achieve their full potential.

“We care deeply about the young people we support and our social workers and children enjoy enduring relationships beyond childhood, which are built on meaningful time spent together.”

Jim Gamble QPM, Independent Chair of the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Board, said:

“I am extremely proud of the team in the City and Hackney. Achieving the first outstanding judgement is the result of their hard work and relentless focus on what is best for our children and young people.

“We have built a system that works and it works because of leadership, commitment and a willingness to engage in constructive reflective practice. There is no burden of bureaucracy here. We collectively focus on what matters most, the data that informs debate and the learning that drives improvement.

“Our structure, our approach, our staff and every partner on the Board make a real difference. Ultimately, the investment in a senior professional advisor, right at the heart of the safeguarding team has pushed us and made us smarter.”

Read the full report here.

Three London boroughs help those on the brink of homelessness

The City of London Corporation and the London Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets have launched No First Night Out – a new project to prevent people from turning to rough sleeping.

The initiative is funded by the Greater London Authority and Department of Communities and Local Government.

New research prepared by St Mungo’s for the councils included interviews with 34 new rough sleepers.

It found the three main tipping points into rough sleeping were an end to temporary accommodation with friends or family, being asked to leave the family home, and the threat of eviction from a rented property.

The local authorities will use the findings to predict who might sleep out before they actually do.

New specialist No First Night Out housing officers will work with local authority housing and social care teams – as well as religious organisations, medical, legal and employment services – to identify those at risk of a first night on the streets.

Individuals identified as at risk of rough sleeping will receive rapid, intensive homelessness prevention and housing support.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Community & Children’s Services Committee, said:

“Tackling homelessness is one of the biggest challenges facing local authorities across London and the UK.

“New rough sleepers often have long and complex journeys into homelessness, often involving mental health problems, alcohol dependency or drug abuse.

“This new project demonstrates our commitment to doing everything we can to help those on the brink through joint working and early intervention.”

Cllr Philip Glanville, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“Tackling homelessness is a priority for the Council and understanding the root causes of it is a vital step in the prevention process.

“This new cross-borough task force will see the pooling of resources and skills to ensure rapid, practical help is given before those at risk of homelessness end up on the streets.”

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:

“The personal stories of homeless people often show how easy it is to suddenly be faced with the stark realities of homelessness, without a safe or secure roof over one’s head.

“Homelessness can also be an unfortunate side-effect of other issues including family breakdown, health conditions or problems with addiction.

“This intensive and intelligence-led approach will help ensure that more people get the support needed before their problems see them being left out on the streets.”

“It’s also important we continue to tackle those rogue landlords who fail to act responsibly by using practices such as revenge evictions to force tenants out of their homes.”

The No First Night Out service will also be advertised in Job Centre Plus, Probation, Citizen’s Advice and local libraries, churches and mosques. It complements the existing No Second Night Out initiative, which focuses on helping London’s existing new rough sleepers.

As part of the funding, current rough sleepers who have a local connection to another area of England or Wales will also be provided with additional support through the new Safe Connections service to access accommodation and support.

City Corporation and Hackney Council join forces for CSE Awareness Day

Local authorities work together to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation

The City of London Corporation and City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Board are uniting against child sexual exploitation for the 2nd National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day today.

The National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE.

The joint campaign encourages everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.

As part of the campaign, posters will be displayed at Liverpool Street and Cannon Street stations as well as at other points across the City over the next four weeks.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Community & Children’s Services Committee, said: “The City of London Corporation takes the issues of exploitation and CSE very seriously and we want to show the City’s support in tackling this difficult issue. Our duty of care to families, children, young people and residents in the City means we’re keen to lead the way in showing people what signs to look out for and what to do about it.”

Jim Gamble, Chair of the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Board said: “Everyone can play a part in helping to keep our children and young people safer whether at home, in care, online or on our streets. Our combined efforts are therefore focusing on ensuring people know what to look for and what to do if they see or hear something that causes them concern. Doing nothing is simply not an option for anyone.”

Osborne Reaches Key Milestone in South London

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Osborne and The City of London Corporation are celebrating reaching a significant milestone in the construction of Twelve Acres House, the new seven storey Avondale Square housing development in Bermondsey.

Traditional Topping Out ceremonies mark Osborne reaching the highest point of the building, or the laying of the final brick. This was attended by senior members of Osborne including Garfield Coombs, Osborne Director of Construction and representatives from the City of London Corporation including Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the Children & Community Services Committee.

The £7million project will see The City of London Corporation and Osborne delivering eighteen new homes, a community centre and an estate office as well as landscaping the surrounding land, helping to regenerate the local area.

The local community continues to take a keen interest in the project and have praised the way in which Osborne has conducted themselves throughout the project, taking every precaution to reduce disruption for local residents.

Noel Baker, local resident said:” The project brings a great relief to us. The old building needed raising down and a new imaginative replacement put in place. The level of care, politeness and commitment from Osborne to keep a clean work area was phenomenal. It has amazed me to see the amount of materials and machinery delivered to the site, all of which was conducted with the greatest level of care, safety and consideration to residents.”

Garfield Coombs, Osborne Director, Construction said: “This Topping Out marks a significant milestone in this regeneration project. The reaction from local residents to our continued professionalism is great to hear and highlights how our core values permeate through everything we do.”

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the Children & Community Services Committee at the City of London Corporation said: “I was delighted to be presented with the trowel today, symbolising the topping out of Twelve Acres House.  The City of London Corporation has recently committed to building 3,700 homes over the next decade.  These 18 homes will be an important step on the path towards our goal of providing high quality, affordable homes to Londoners who need them.”

New Chairman of City’s Community & Children’s Committee

The City of London Corporation has elected 31-year-old Dhruv Patel as the Chairman of Community & Children’s Services. The Common Councillor has represented the Square Mile ward of Aldgate for the past two years.

Born in the City and raised in east London, Dhruv Patel comes from a finance background, previously holding positions at Barclays Capital, and as a private investor he has been involved in property development and insurance underwriting. Dhruv set up the City Hindus Network, in 2005, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes networking, education and, charity fundraising among Hindu professionals.

He succeeds William Dove OBE as the Chairman of the committee that looks after a whole range of local authority functions including, schools, adoption and fostering, safeguarding, housing and careers guidance in the Square Mile.

Speaking after his election, Dhruv Patel said:

“I am deeply honoured to be elected as Chairman and look forward to serving the City Corporation and its residents, as well as those who work in the Square Mile. As the first City of London Corporation Chairman from my ethnic minority background, I am keenly interested in diversity and access for talent. During my term I would like to encourage our apprenticeship programmes for City firms, helping them to develop talent from across London. And also, as the City Corporation is a key affordable-housing provider, I would like to ensure we continue to play an important role in addressing the capital’s escalating housing crisis.

“I am privileged to take over the chairmanship from Billy Dove OBE who has been a great mentor and fantastic support. I hope that my election will encourage further diversity across the organisation and inspire others to follow my lead.”

Lord Mayor of the City of London Alan Yarrow, said:

“Community and Children’s Services plays a valuable role in the lives of City residents, visitors and workers. I’d like to congratulate Dhruv in his new role, and I’m confident his expertise and commitment will help to build on the great work already delivered by this department.”