PRAISE has been given for improvements to Worcestershire's children's services after they were previously so poor the organisation that delivers them was placed in special measures.

Worcestershire Children First, the not-for-profit company owned by Worcestershire County Council that delivers children's services, received the boost after a visit from Ofsted.

Inspectors reported that the local authority has "made strong progress" in improving the quality of practice for children and families at the initial referral point - known as its ‘Family Front Door’ - since a previous inspection in June 2019.

The report goes on to say: "Children and families in Worcestershire benefit from a swift and proportionate response to new contacts with prompt analysis, leading to appropriate management sign off and seamless referral and transitional arrangements to ensure that children and families experience minimal delay within the Family Front Door so that children gain the right service at the right time.

"Social work assessments were described as “thorough and proportionate” and management oversight as “well considered and appropriately informing next steps.”

In relation to the delivery of service to vulnerable children during the Covid Pandemic inspectors said: “The local authority and wider partnership have planned and delivered a well-coordinated and effective response to the pandemic and Social workers have been well supported during Covid-19 and enabled to work safely and effectively”.

Tina Russell, chief executive of Worcestershire Children First, said: “The Ofsted findings give an assurance to the public and our partners in the quality of work undertaken at our Family Front Door to identify, assess and plan for children in need of support and those at risk of harm in Worcestershire.

“I’m really pleased that the developments in Early Help and in particular the early help offer our schools have committed to creating since our last inspection was recognised in this visit. The review of FFD undertaken by Ofsted was thorough with many many cases and staff being interviewed.

"This level of high quality work isn’t achieved easily, it takes dedication and commitment from all the people all the time. Throughout the pandemic work load pressures at FFD have doubled as families have sought support from social care when other services haven’t been so easily available.

"Despite this significant rise in demand we have still continued our development work in Get Safe and delivered initiatives to provide additional support through our Safeguarding Babies and Back to School projects. I am so very, very proud of the staff, managers and partners whose work this report reflects.”

Ofsted visited Worcestershire County Council children’s services last month.