Ofsted reports

A round up of the Ofsted reports of children’s services inspections published in September.

Cumbria strengthens referrals and contacts since ‘requires improvement’ rating

Cumbria children’s services has continued to strengthen arrangements for managing referrals and contacts since the last inspection in November 2017, when the overall effectiveness of services was judged to require improvement to be good, Ofsted has said.

Senior leaders and managers now have a clear oversight and a better understanding of operational practice at the front door. Children and their families receive quick and appropriate responses from the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) when enquiries for early help and support and safeguarding concerns are received.

“Children who need urgent protection receive an effective response, with prompt action taken to reduce risks. Children’s assessments are mostly informative. They include children’s histories and views, which inform the analysis of risk, but issues of identity are not well considered as part of the overall assessment. The response to young people who present as homeless remains poor, despite this being raised at the last inspection,” said the report.

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Improvements made at Derbyshire but further work needed

A stronger leadership team has created stability at a strategic level across the service at Derbyshire County Council, Ofsted has said.

Following the single inspection in 2013, a council restructure led to a substantial reduction in leadership and management capacity in children’s services. Combined with a period of organisational instability, this resulted in a significant decline in the quality of services for vulnerable children.

“When appointed in 2016, the executive director for children’s services (DCS) identified the root causes of the decline and the key priority actions necessary to improve services. She acted to secure the support of political and corporate leaders, ensuring significant reinvestment in the service,” said the report.

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