25/03/2022 - Permalink

Shropshire Council delighted to be judged as overall ‘Good’ for its children’s services following Ofsted inspection

Related topics: Children's services / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council’s children’s services has again been judged by Ofsted as ‘Good’, with the services continuing to make improvements.

This follows an inspection by Ofsted during February 2022, the results of which are published today: click here. This inspection was the first time Shropshire has been inspected under the new Ofsted Inspection Framework.

The inspectors have published more than 40 key findings following their inspection.

Among the inspectors’ key findings are:

  • During the pandemic, children’s services have continued to provide a high level of support to children, including ongoing face to face visits.
  • When social workers know that children are at risk of harm, they make decisions that are in children’s best interests to make sure they are safe. This includes when children may be experiencing exploitation.
  • Social workers are good at listening to children and parents to work out the best way to improve their lives. Social workers make sure that children can live with their families wherever possible
  • Children do well once they come into care. They are making progress and are provided with support to develop their hobbies and interests.
  • Care leavers benefit from greatly from the enhanced support of their personal advisors.
  • Children in Shropshire are benefiting from the high aspirations of senior leaders for their services to continue to improve children’s lives.

Ofsted graded the council as GOOD overall, the sub gradings are the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families is Good; children in need of help and protection Requires Improvement to be Good; and the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers are judged to be Good.

People celebrating Ofsted rating children's service "Good"

Ofsted rate children’s service “Good”

Inspectors said that leaders know themselves well* and that children are benefiting from child protection plans that are focused effectively to bring about positive change. Inspectors also highlighted that some children have difficult experiences for too long before social workers find the right place for them to live where they are safe and well looked after. Leaders were aware of the issues and plans were in place to address them: this had not happened as quickly as it should have.

The report also says that children in need benefit from well-co-ordinated and effective partnership working in response to their identified needs. It also identifies areas for development with partners in relation to better meeting the emotional and mental health needs of children and young people and in responding to domestic abuse in partnership with the police.

There are many strengths in the report, and it reflects the hard work and efforts of the whole service. We are particularly pleased that Compass was identified as identifying children quickly and giving a proportionate response to contacts and referrals decision-making is prompt.

The report states that visits to children are child-focused and purposeful, and that children benefit from effective multi-agency working to identify those who are vulnerable to, or who are, being exploited.

Children live with foster carers who are well trained and are skilled in meeting their individual needs.

Children are benefiting from permanence through adoption, and there has been an increase in the number of fosters to adopt approvals and older children and sibling groups being matched with adopters. Adopters are positive about the support provided throughout the adoption process.

Ofsted inspectors found that children leaving care in Shropshire receive excellent help and guidance from enthusiastic and passionate personal advisers, while the local offer for care leavers is comprehensive and effective and, despite the pandemic, there has been substantial improvement in 17-18-year-olds in employment, education or training and an improving picture for 19–21-year-olds.

The report also says that the lead Cabinet member, chief executive, and executive director for people have made a significant change to the culture of the organisation, with a shift towards people-focused priorities and a clear emphasis on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable members of society.

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education said:-

“I’m extremely proud of this Good rating from Ofsted, which is a great achievement given the pressures faced over the last two years.

“The council’s teams have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and have really stepped up to ensure that even in these most challenging times, we remained fully focused on and supporting those who need it most: our most vulnerable children and families.

“I pay tribute to everyone in our children’s services, and our partners, who work with such compassion and commitment every day to improve the lives of children in Shropshire.

“We know that our work doesn’t stop and there are still things we can improve on, and we welcome the recommendations Ofsted have made to further ensure we are making Shropshire as safe as possible for children, where they can develop to have the best life for young people, with access to good health, education and other services.”

You can view the full Ofsted report at  https://shropshire.gov.uk/OFSTEDChildrensServicesReport2022

Further information

*This finding refers to the service having undertaken their own self-assessment, which they submitted to Ofsted at the beginning of the inspection. Ofsted inspectors test the accuracy of the self-assessment through the inspection, and found that this was accurate.