A summary of the Ofsted inspections, re-inspections and monitoring visit reports published during January. This includes a success story for Rotherham children's services which has turned things around.
Progress made in care leavers services in Wandsworth
Wandsworth council has been praised for making progress in its services for care leavers by Ofsted.
A monitoring visit of the London Borough of Wandsworth by the inspectorate found made ‘purposeful and well-targeted progress’ in improving services for its care leavers.
Wirral is starting to make signs of progress
The direction of travel is “more promising” at Wirral children’s services although there is still a great deal of work to be done, Ofsted has stated.
In its fourth monitoring visit since the authority’s children’s services was judged to be inadequate in September 2016 which focused on looked-after children, inspectors found the Wirral is “now beginning to show signs of making some progress in improving services for its children and young people who are looked after”.
Child protection plans end too soon in Birmingham
Child protection plans are ending too soon in Birmingham children’s services, Ofsted has warned.
While the local authority is making continued progress in improving children’s services, significant concerns remain in relation to child protection plans ending too early and leaving children at potential risk of harm.
Norfolk moves from inadequate to ‘requires improvement to be good’
Norfolk’s adoption services has been rated as outstanding as the authority has moved out of an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted grade to ‘requires improvement to be good’.
A re-inspection of Norfolk’s children’s services found “a significant increase in the pace of change,” over the past 12 months following a “faltering start” after the authority was graded inadequate in July 2015.
Ofsted praises Doncaster after it rises from inadequate to ‘good’
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.
Improvements sustained at Tower Hamlets, finds Ofsted
Improvements have been identified at the MASH in Tower Hamlets, but responses to children at risk of child sexual exploitation remain under-developed, Ofsted has found.
In a second monitoring visit since the authority was rated as inadequate in April last year, inspectors found Improvements in the multi-agency safeguarding hub have been sustained since the last monitoring visit in August. In cases sampled, thresholds for help and protection were appropriately applied, decision-making was timely and no children were identified as being at risk of immediate harm.
However, practice to understand and respond to risks to missing or sexually exploited children remains underdeveloped, inspectors found.
High caseloads at Buckinghamshire slammed by inspectors
High caseloads and a high turnover of staff have been cited as problems at Buckinghamshire children’s services as it has been rated inadequate by Ofsted.
The high turnover of social workers, high caseloads in some teams and poor recording have all been significant contributory factors to the slow progress of children’s plans, and have led to some children being left at risk and in unsuitable circumstances for too long.
Frequent changes in social workers or visits conducted by rotating duty workers make it hard for children to develop trusting relationships or for social workers to properly understand children’s experiences and circumstances.
Significant improvement highlighted at Cumbria
Cumbria children’s services have been rated as ‘requires improvement to be good’ after receiving three inadequate Ofsted grades in the past three inspections.
Adoption and leadership were rated as ‘good’ while children in need of protection, looked-after children and services for carers were rated as ‘requiring improvement to be good’ in the Ofsted inspection of the authority.
Ofsted heaps praise on Rotherham for turning services around
A “systematic and rigorous approach to improvement” has turned children’s services around in Rotherham, Ofsted has concluded.
The last Ofsted inspection in 2014 identified widespread and serious failures for children in need of help and protection and children looked after. This came after an independent report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham estimated that around 1,400 children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013.
“The recruitment of effective senior managers has resulted in sustained improvement. The quality and impact of services for children are transformed. Risks to children are recognised early and responded to, ensuring their safety. The corporate response and associated change in the quality of children’s services has been impressive,” said Ofsted.
Widespread and serious failures found at Sandwell
Serious and widespread failures in child protection, looked-after children and adoption services have been found in an Ofsted inspection of Sandwell children’s services.
Rating the authority’s children’s services as ‘inadequate,’ Ofsted said that some of the services had deteriorated since the last inspection. While most of the recommendations from the 2015 Ofsted inspection had not been implemented, some services had declined in their effectiveness.
Somerset moves out of inadequate rating
A culture of openness and willingness to learn at Somerset children’s services has resulted in the authority moving from inadequate to ‘requires improvement to be good’.
Somerset children’s services has made “steady improvement” since the last inspection in 2015 when the authority was rated inadequate, Ofsted said.