Progress made in improving services for council care leavers
Published on 01 August 2016
Ofsted inspectors have reported that the city council has made significant progress in improving its services for young people leaving council care.
Ofsted has published a letter outlining its findings from a visit to the council’s children’s services department at the end of June.
This was the fourth monitoring visit made by Ofsted since the service was judged to be inadequate in March last year, and looked specifically at services provided to care leavers.
Inspectors looked at a range of evidence including electronic case records, supervision files and notes, and performance data. And they spoke to a range of staff including personal advisers, social workers, team managers and senior leaders.
The inspection team found that significant progress had been made in ensuring services for care leavers are effectively managed, and that as a result support for them is improving.
They noted that reliable data is now available and being used to improve outcomes, and that planning and preparations made to help young people are much more reliable.
Their letter highlights improvements made in helping young people to stay with carers, with 22 staying living with their former foster families currently, compared to ten during the 2015 inspection.
It also notes that fewer care leavers are not in employment, education or training and this is an improving picture.
Inspectors found the council’s case studies to be accurate and of good quality, and that staff showed a consistently strong commitment to providing a good service to care leavers, and to working for the council.
Cllr Sarah Russell, asst city mayor for children, young people and schools said: “Staff have worked very hard over the past year to improve services and I am pleased the progress made has been recognised by Ofsted.
“However, there is still a lot more we need to do to reach the consistently good standards of service that our young people should be able to expect from us.
“I know that staff across the service are committed to make these improvements and that the processes we are putting in place will ensure they are long term and lasting changes.”
Areas highlighted by Ofsted for further improvement include the effectiveness of pathway plans which are too variable; and the number of caseloads managed by personal advisers, which is too high despite additional investment in staffing.
They also found that the proportion of care leavers not in education, employment or training remains too high; and that the quality and effectiveness of support remains variable.