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Ofsted boost as Coventry’s Children’s Services starts journey to good

Published Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Coventry City Council has vowed to continue its journey of improvement after Ofsted inspectors gave the authority’s Children’s Services a huge boost.

Since being rated as ‘Inadequate’ three years ago, the Council has been working to improve the services it provides to protect and support the most vulnerable children and young people in the city.

Following its first full inspection since 2014, Ofsted has reported today (Tuesday 13 June) that Coventry has improved to be moved into the ‘Requires Improvement’ category.

In their four-week visit the 12-strong Ofsted team found:

  • Coventry City Council has worked with ‘intense focus’ to improve the quality of children’s social care services and ‘to ensure children receive the help and protection they need’
  • Early help services are effective and benefit families and children
  • Strong strategic leadership across the authority with a ‘clear vision for service improvement’
  • The experiences and progress of care leavers was rated as ‘Good’
  • The voice of the child is ‘routinely heard’ and ‘purposeful, direct work is done to gather their wishes and feelings’

Council Leader George Duggins said: “When I became leader I was clear that improving children’s services was a priority and that we would financially support the service despite dealing with crushing Government cuts.

“I’m pleased Ofsted have recognised the considerable improvements that we have made and I thank everyone who has helped make that happen.

“But this is just the start of our journey to a ‘Good’ rating and I will continue to support everyone who is working to make life better for our children.”

Cllr Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This outcome is a welcome endorsement for the determination of the many staff members who do so much work, often unseen, to keep children safe and improve their life chances.

“I spend a lot of time with teams and I see their skill and dedication. I am delighted our work for care leavers was rated as ‘Good’. Initiatives like exempting care leavers from paying council tax show how we are making a lifelong commitment to the young people in our care.

“The Ofsted report tells us what we already know – that we still have a long way to go – but just as most parents will do everything possible for their children, I’m determined we will do everything possible as a Council to do all we can to support the children we look after.”

The report has made a series of recommendations, many of them procedural, to help continue the improvement including:

  • Continuing to monitor and develop services through the Children’s Improvement Board so that all children receive the help and support they need
  • Improve the quality of children’s assessments and the focus of plans
  • Review arrangements for privately fostered children
  • To work with partners to reduce the amount of unnecessary referrals to social care that would be better dealt with by community-based services.

John Gregg, Director of Children’s Services at Coventry City Council, said: “I want to thank all of our staff, partners and elected members who have all helped get us to this stage with a united focus on making children’s lives better.

“But we won’t settle for this judgement and we haven’t taken our feet off the pedal since Ofsted left us, in fact we’ve increased the pace – the work we need to do to improve is too important to wait.

“We have a duty to our children and I’m determined we will fulfil that duty. Our journey to good is well underway.”

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