Headline
Message from chief executive Caroline Lacey and director of children, families and schools Eoin Rush
Date
Fri, 13 Mar 2020
Description

Following the publication of an inspection report by Ofsted, we would like to reassure staff about the quality of our social care services for children.

Ofsted has published a report about the council's children's social care services based on a short inspection visit in December 2019 which involved a snapshot of a relatively few sample cases.

The report considered three aspects of the services:

  • The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families
  • The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection
  • The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers.

Although the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers was rated as good, the other two areas were rated as inadequate and therefore Ofsted's overall judgement was that the services as a whole were inadequate.

The judgement is very disappointing for the council and does not reflect the range of effective, successful work which takes place across all the services and across the East Riding.

On behalf of our workforce, who are highly-professional, committed and care passionately about their work, the council challenged the report.

We disagreed with key aspects of the report and wanted to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the council's work was more accurately recognised by Ofsted. However, the judgement remains.

The council is absolutely committed to providing the best possible services for children, young people and their families and, while we disagree with a number of aspects of the report, we acknowledge there are areas of improvement and we will be making every effort to do so.

We will be looking at the capacity and systems at our front door, strengthening assessment practice and timeliness and reviewing our systems for quality assurance.

The council continually strives to keep improving all aspects of our work and this is a constant, evolving process. Children's services are no different and the inspection came during a period of transition.

We will now be working with Ofsted, the Department for Education (DfE) and other partners to make sure this transitional process is as effective as possible and that any improvements are made in a timely manner.

Like with any other local authority facing unprecedented demand and severe financial constraints, our staff work in often very difficult and challenging circumstances. However we are dedicated in our aspiration to provide the best possible service and outcomes through continual learning and development. This includes improving where necessary and constantly reviewing our working practices and effectiveness.

A number of strengths were identified in the Ofsted report however many more positives were also fed back to us verbally by the inspection team during their visit and these acknowledged many aspects of very strong performance and outcomes across children's services.

These include an outstanding inspection outcome for our Youth Offending Service, described as the best in the country by the Youth Justice Board, our Children's Centre and Early Help services which routinely receive regional and national recognition, our very high-performing Troubled Families programme and the effectiveness of our support for children in care and care leavers.

We will continue to build on these successes while also considering those areas correctly identified as in need of development. Indeed, we are already working on an improvement plan, as part of our ethos of constantly reviewing and developing, and this will take into account parts of the Ofsted feedback. 

Our goal is to now work with Ofsted and DfE colleagues, to ensure we are delivering the best possible outcomes at all times for the children, young people and families we support.

We thank staff for their continued excellent, professional, dedicated and valuable work and we will do all we can to support teams through the next steps and to work together to keep building on our successes and to keep developing, where it is needed, to strengthen our services even further.

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