CHILDREN'S services in Worcestershire are no longer subject to central government intervention.

The Department of Education has ended its statutory direction of Worcestershire County Council.

Under this, the department was in charge of ensuring standards were raised across the board.

Removal of the direction recognises the council as making improvements to its handling of children and family services.

In a letter, Will Quince MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for children and families said there had been "significant improvement" in the way the council handled services for children and their families.

He wrote: "Elected members, senior leaders, partners and staff at all levels in Worcestershire had demonstrated a commitment to achieving the improvements.”

"Removal of the direction comes as a result of the significant improvement since Ofsted’s 2016 inspection, as evidenced in the 2019 inspection and recent focussed visits, as well as the comprehensive quarterly reports provided."

Tina Russell, who holds the combined role as chief executive of Worcestershire Children First and county council director of children's services said: "We are delighted with the decision to remove the statutory direction.

"As Minister Quince's letter acknowledges, there are significant challenges in delivering high quality and effective children’s social care services, especially over the recent COVID-19 response period and I am continually impressed, proud and grateful to all our staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable children and families now have access to an improved quality of service.

“As a dedicated Children’s Services company we will work through our business plans and use our quality assurance work to continue to learn and develop, understanding ourselves and the difference we are making to the lives of children and young people."

Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member with responsibility for children and families said: “This is a brilliant key milestone for Worcestershire County Council.

"It’s great to see that the significant progress made by Worcestershire Children First in safeguarding and the services for vulnerable children in the county, has been recognised by the Department for Education."