Ofsted inspectors find ‘clear vision’ and ‘coordinated and relentless drive’ in improving services for children and families
City leaders have today (November 25) welcomed findings from an Ofsted inspection which have highlighted a ‘clear vision’ and ‘coordinated and relentless drive’ in improving services for children and families.
The Ofsted inspection of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s children’s services has found services for vulnerable children and families in the city have ‘improved substantially since the last inspection in February 2019’, when services were found to be inadequate.
The city council has been praised for the progress that it has been made despite the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic and that significant work has been delivered in the ‘front door’ service and in achieving permanence for children in care.
Ofsted has rated:
- The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers – Good
- The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families – Requires improvement to be good
- The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection – Requires improvement to be good
- Overall effectiveness – Requires improvement to be good
Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I am pleased that Ofsted have found that we have made progress, since 2019 our number one priority has been children and young people, and our staff have worked tirelessly to make that a reality, which today’s report endorses.
“Transforming our service is no mean feat and we are under no illusion that further improvements are needed to ensure we provide a consistently good service for all children in the city. We are focused on continuing to improve our services and in working in partnership with other agencies to drive further improvements for the benefit of vulnerable children and families in the city.
“In the short period since the Ofsted inspectors visited us last month, our Children’s Advice and Duty (ChAD) team have won an award at the West Midlands Association of Directors of Children’s Services Network Team Excellence Awards for our success in transforming the front door service. We have also been named ‘Fostering Friendly Employer of the Year’ at The Fostering Excellence Awards – a national award that puts us at the forefront of employers in the country, demonstrating our commitment as corporate parents, and we are using this expertise in working with other employers in the city to embed fostering friendly policies in their workplaces. These are fantastic achievements that are the culmination of considerable work to support children and families in the city.”
The rating of ‘good’ for council services that support the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers comes as there are currently over 1,000 children in care across the city.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have made encouraging progress since 2019, but we know we all – businesses, communities, organisations – have a role to play in giving young people in the city the best start in life. We are committed to reducing the number of children in care and have made a real focus of this, working closely with many organisations and businesses right across the life of our city. In the past year, we’ve launched nationally acclaimed campaigns, such as becoming the country’s first Fostering Friendly city, as well as launching with partners the Be The Future initiative, working with forward-thinking employers who recognise the potential of care-experienced young people, and helping them take their first step into the world of work. We know we have much more to do, but we are determined to continue to drive for the very best for Stoke-on-Trent’s children and young people.”
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