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Sustained progress in quality of Leicester’s children’s services, says Ofsted

Published on 04 September 2017

CHILDREN’S services in Leicester have improved significantly and are no longer rated inadequate, according to the latest report from Ofsted.

The report says senior leaders and managers took ‘decisive action’ to improve services after an inspection in January 2015 found them to be inadequate. As a result, inspectors say ‘sustained progress has been achieved’.

Although further improvements are still required, the report says staff and political leaders have made good progress. There is particular praise for the leadership, management and governance of children’s services, which Ofsted says is now good.

In addition, inspectors say the local authority has made ‘exceptional progress’ in embedding a ‘strong performance management culture’, which means work is regularly and effectively audited to ensure standards are maintained.

Since the inspection in 2015, inspectors have visited regularly to check on progress. The most recent inspection of the full range of children’s services was conducted in July, and has led to the ‘inadequate’ judgement being lifted.

Overall, children’s services in Leicester are now rated as requiring improvement.

Assistant city mayor for children, young people and schools Cllr Sarah Russell said: “To have our ‘inadequate’ rating removed is excellent news, and we are particularly pleased that the report singles out some of our work as exceptional. This is the result of a lot of hard work and a strong, unwavering focus on raising standards across children’s services.

“We recognise that we still have further improvements to make, but what the inspectors have confirmed is that we are moving in the right direction, with the right team in place to ensure that we can become a good service.”

City mayor Peter Soulsby announced an immediate shake-up of social care services after problems were highlighted by Ofsted in 2015.

He said: “Fortunately, we were able to deal very swiftly with the most serious issues we uncovered, including allocating social workers to the most vulnerable children.

“We invested £2.4million in an improvement fund and what has followed has been steady progress in key areas, such as stabilising our workforce and appointing more permanent team leaders and managers.

“I’m very pleased that we are moving in the right direction. I’m confident that, under the current dedicated leadership team, we will continue to make improvements to ensure we help children, families and young people in the city to get the support they need.”

The report also made recommendations for areas that need to improve further, which are already being acted upon. Next steps include focusing on the disabled children’s service, improving services for children who are in private fostering arrangements and developing new city council-based apprenticeship and work experience opportunities for young people leaving care.

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

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

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