‘Significant progress’ in improving children’s services, says Ofsted

Published on 07 October 2016

LEICESTER is making ‘significant progress’ in improving its children’s services, according to the latest report from Ofsted.

Inspectors visited the children’s services department at Leicester City Council last month (Sept), and have just published a letter outlining their findings from the visit.

This was the fifth monitoring visit by Ofsted and focused particularly on the services the local authority provides for the children it looks after.

Inspectors considered a range of evidence, and concluded that while there is still work to do in some areas, ‘significant progress’ has been made.

The letter says the local authority has established a comprehensive system for scrutinising and auditing data, which is important because it allows managers to identify where there are strengths in the department’s work and where there are still challenges that need to be addressed.

It says there is also evidence that the workforce is becoming more stable, with caseloads reduced and an improved working environment for social workers, following a move into more modern office accommodation in the city centre.

There is also praise for the ‘considerable progress’ made in ensuring that children coming into the care of the local authority are given a health assessment within the agreed timescale.

The letter adds that the ‘permanent and highly committed senior management team’ is helping to increase the pace of change, with ‘encouraging early signs’ from recent improvements.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “We are determined that our children and young people receive the quality services they need. This report from Ofsted shows that the focused work of all of our staff is starting to deliver this.

“We know that putting these changes in place is a journey – we can’t change everything overnight – but what this latest monitoring report shows is that we’re on the right track, we’re making significant progress and we’ve got the right team in place to make these improvements.

“I’m particularly pleased that we have a more stable workforce, as consistency is key. We’ll be working hard now to build on these improvements, to create a children’s service that the city can be proud of.”

Areas identified as still in need of improvement included ensuring consistency of quality in children’s care plans, providing better support to children who return to their home and ensuring ‘drift and delay’ does not occur in cases where there is a change of social worker.

The letter outlining the Ofsted inspectors’ findings is published at:

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/leicester-city 

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