Doncaster children’s services has moved from an inadequate rating just over two years ago to a ‘good’ Ofsted judgement in a re-inspection of children’s services.
The previous inspection of Doncaster in September 2015 judged children’s services overall to be inadequate after the local authority was judged to be inadequate for help and protection services, require improvement for services for looked-after children, care leavers services and leadership, management and governance and good for adoption performance.
The authority is now judged to be ‘good’ across the board with an overall ‘good’ judgement.
“Since the last inspection, when services were judged to be inadequate, there have been significant improvements in the quality of support for children in Doncaster,” said the report. “The council and Doncaster Children’s Services Trust work well together and know their strengths and areas needing further development.”
“The trust is highly effective in developing a culture for good social work to flourish,” it added.
- The quality of social work is good and is supported by a well-embedded model of social work practice.
- There is a highly effective performance management and audit programme.
- Management oversight is visible on files.
- In the main, social workers receive good-quality, reflective supervision.
- Social workers and managers all reported good morale with visible and accessible leaders.
- The voice of the child is an absolutely integral part of individual casework and planning of service delivery.
“The voice of the child looked after is powerful in Doncaster. Children only become looked after when it is in their best interests and when all other options have been considered,” said the report, adding that social workers know the children that they are working with well.
Adoption services are good with children being considered for adoption at the earliest opportunity, which enables children to be placed in a permanent placement without delay. Support for care leavers is good and the ‘inspiring futures’ team is ambitious and resolute with the care leavers it supports.
Ofsted recommends that Doncaster
Ensures that all social workers receive high-quality supervision, which is recorded in a timely manner.
- Ensures that assessments, plans and subsequent actions are completed to the trust’s standards for all children.
- Continues to improve the availability of local placement options and ensure that national guidance is followed when placing children.
- Ensures that all children looked after and care leavers have easy access to leisure facilities, as leisure passes are only available for those who attend the groups.
Commenting on the report, Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, Paul Moffat, said: “We are really delighted that inspectors have confirmed that we and our partners are now delivering the high quality services that Doncaster’s children, families and communities deserve. We are tremendously proud of each and every one of our staff who have worked so tirelessly to achieve these improvements for Doncaster’s children. Our philosophy is that everyone here is a leader and I am so impressed by how our teams have stepped up to that role, achieving practice standards and making a difference to children’s lives in a way that we could only have dreamed of three years ago.
“At the centre of everything we do, from our direct work with children, to developing our services, are the voices of our children and young people. We are therefore delighted that inspectors have recognised just what an integral part the voice of the child is in our work at the Trust. We could not have made these improvements without the expertise, support and challenge of these exceptional young people. We are inspired by their contribution and we are determined to go from strength to strength, making a real difference to children’s lives in Doncaster,” he added.