Leicestershire County Council has announced that improvements are already underway in its children’s services, following an Ofsted inspection.
The report published today says the authority keeps the most vulnerable young people safe from harm, although finds that improvements are needed in some areas.
Ofsted report into children's services Opens new window
Action is being taken to address the issues identified which include consistent management oversight and more prompt support to families.
Inspectors also praise a number of areas such as steps to tackle child sexual exploitation and prevention work to stop families’ problems growing, and judge Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board to be ‘good’.
The inspection was the council’s first under the regulator’s new, tougher framework and says that it ‘requires improvement’ overall – around half of all councils inspected have this rating.
Keeping children and young people safe is paramount, and the report underlines that we’re effectively protecting those at most risk. The report makes it clear that we’d already pinpointed key areas for improvement. It highlights the impact of recent changes and the range of good support in place for families. Our focus now is on stepping up these improvements to generate ongoing progress. Person:Ivan Ould, county council cabinet member for children and families
“That’s why we’re investing over half-a-million pounds in recruiting social workers to reduce caseloads and drive quality across our work. Support to families is now provided more promptly, after enhancing our processes, and updated standards for managers will ensure more consistent oversight and smarter use of data.
“We remain committed to ongoing improvement and are closely monitoring progress.”
Ofsted also found that:
• Foster carers provide good quality of care;
• Social workers know their children well;
• The council is improving the health of children in care, and their education outcomes;
• Children’s and young people’s views are taken seriously and help to shape services
Further developments include:
• Recruiting more ‘children’s officers’ – who ensure that children’s views are represented;
• Re-designing and bolstering post-adoption support;
• Boosting resource and processes to ensure consistent high levels of support
Ofsted visited the council over four weeks last November and also inspected the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) – the board ensures that councils, the police, NHS and others work together effectively to protect children.
The board’s Ofsted report has also been published today and rates it as ‘good’.
Paul Burnett, independent chair of the Leicestershire and Rutland LSCB, said: “Ofsted has identified a number of strengths in our work and judges the Board to be effective and well run.
“This is a collective achievement that is based on a strong partnership of local leaders, services and staff. They have shown commitment, energy and focus in ensuring we work together to safeguard children and young people in Leicestershire and Rutland and this has now been recognised by Ofsted.”