NORTHAMPTONSHIRE CHILDREN’S SERVICES NO LONGER RATED INADEQUATE
Children’s services in Northamptonshire have ‘improved across all areas’ and are no longer rated inadequate, say Ofsted inspectors.
Following a five-week Ofsted inspection in February which included a review of the lscb, children’s services have now been rated ‘requires improvement to be good’, marking a key success in Northamptonshire County Council’s improvement journey and bringing it in line with almost half of all local authorities in the country.
There is still progress to be made to fully embed the improvements, however, and the service needs to continue its work around the recruitment and retention of permanent social workers.
In 2013, Northamptonshire County Council’s child protection, adoption and looked-after children services were inspected by Ofsted and were rated as inadequate. As a result, the authority was issued with a direction notice from the Department for Education.
Since then, the county council has worked closely with partners to implement improvements across the service areas, overseen by a monthly Improvement Board.
In its report, Ofsted highlighted the following improvements since the last inspection:
- The ‘excellent’ Social Work Academy, which is helping to recruit the best-quality social workers to Northamptonshire
- The improvements in how the service responds to safeguarding concerns, including the introduction of the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH)
- That all of the weaknesses highlighted in the last inspection have been addressed
But the inspection team said that work needs to continue to reduce the level of temporary and agency staff in the service in order to ensure children and young people get consistency in their care and support.
It also wants to see better case supervision by frontline managers and more regular and thorough assessments for children identified as being in need.
Director for children, families and education Alex Hopkins said: “Improving children’s services in Northamptonshire has been the highest priority of the council for the past three years. We are proud to have a high performing Youth Offending Service and all four children’s homes in Northamptonshire are rated good or outstanding.
“I want to thank our dedicated staff for everything they have done to improve the lives of children in this county.
“This new rating from Ofsted, while an important milestone, does not mark the end of our improvement journey and our hard work will continue to improve and deliver services for children and young people that we can all be proud of.”
Last updated: 27 April 2016