Children's Services continues to make 'steady progress' says Ofsted
The County Council is “making steady progress in improving the quality of services to children looked after” according to Ofsted in their monitoring visit letter published today (13 June).
The letter follows the third monitoring visit from Ofsted in April 2017, during which inspectors looked at the quality of assessment and planning for children looked after, the quality of care placements and placement support and how the County Council fulfils its ‘corporate parenting’ role for looked after children.
Ofsted inspectors noted that ‘improved practice is evident in respect of services and support provided to children looked after’ and that ‘an improved focus on care planning has resulted in the majority of children’s plans having clear actions and timescales’. Inspectors also stated that ‘the development of an increasingly stable workforce, with manageable caseloads, has been critical to the progress achieved to date. Social workers spoken to by inspectors are positive about working in Buckinghamshire and morale is good.’ Whilst progress is being made, the inspectors noted that there is more work to be done to ensure consistency of practice to further improve outcomes for children.
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am pleased that Ofsted inspectors are seeing the improvements we are making in Buckinghamshire and that it has been recognised that we are striving to understand children’s views about their care, which is so important. We know there is more to be done in specific areas but overall this is another positive step for us.
I want to recognise and thank all of our committed staff, who are working very hard to bring all aspects of support for children and families up to the level they deserve.”
Gladys Rhodes White, Interim Executive Director for Children’s Services, said: “We are all encouraged by the recognition from Ofsted of the improvements that have been made to date. All of the actions required by Ofsted are already being worked on; for example we are working directly with children and young people to devise pathway plans which better capture young people’s wishes for support arrangements as they gradually achieve independence into adult life”.
“I am very grateful for the continued commitment of the workforce who all share the same aspiration – to deliver the right care and support for the children and young people of Buckinghamshire who need it.”