Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Council bosses hail turnaround in children's services
INSPECTORS have withdrawn an improvement notice over safeguarding children’s services in Worcestershire after hailing the turnaround as “rapid”.
Ofsted bosses say the service, which was given a failing status in 2010, has made “significant progress” and have encouraged County Hall to carry on the good work.
The news is a major boost to Worcestershire County Council, and follows the most recent inspection in April, which lifted the status to adequate.
The formal ‘notice to improve’ was removed after Tim Loughton MP, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for children, said standards across social services at the authority had been raised.
Extra training has been offered to social workers in a bid to ensure more people are referred to the most appropriate services. Mr Loughton said there are now “clear signs” of a “culture which is child centred” rather than focusing on the adults in families where youngsters are at risk.
He also said there was strong partnership work on tackling domestic violence reports and where children go missing from home.
Councillor Liz Eyre, the cabinet member responsible for children’s services, said: “I’m really delighted by this decision.
“The staff on the front line deserve every credit for stepping up to the plate. The change from inadequate to adequate was very significant, and we didn’t just scrape over the bar, it was a real step-change.
“But we’re not complacent – we now want to move to ‘good’ as soon as possible and we’ve got the capacity to do that.”
Coun Adrian Hardman, council leader, said: “This service is absolutely key to the council and we’ve now got a clear pathway to further improvements.”
After the last inspection in March, Ofsted agreed to lift the status from inadequate to adequate but kept the improvement notice in place.
But in recent weeks the authority has been lobbying to have it removed, while taking extra steps to beef up the service further.