Inspection of children’s services recognised as making significant progress

9 January 2020

Ofsted inspectors have recognised ‘significant progress’ in Cheshire East Council’s children’s services and the council has plans in place for further improvement in areas identified in the inspection report.

Ofsted undertook an inspection of local authority children’s services or ILACS in Cheshire East between 11 November and 29 November 2019. The inspection report has been published today (9 January 2020).

The council’s services have been rated as ‘requires improvement to be good’.

The report recognises that actions are already underway to improve those areas highlighted and that there is a commitment across the council to driving improvements for children and families.

Some of the key areas of progress highlighted in the report were:

  • Strengthened arrangements in the service’s ‘front door’ - meaning that children at risk of serious harm are identified swiftly and action is taken to safeguard and protect them
  • A comprehensive and well developed early help offer for families
  • Children at risk of domestic abuse have access to a wealth of support
  • Well embedded systems to safeguard children missing from education or home educated
  • The ‘voice of the child’ is a strength and social workers know the children well and work with them creatively to plan for their safeguarding and care

Mark Palesthorpe 190x250Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director for people, said: “I am proud of the progress we have made in our services for children over the last few years. But, as the Ofsted inspectors have identified, we must continue to make further improvements to achieve the rating of ‘good’. Our vision is to make Cheshire East a great place to be young and we will continue to keep children and young people at the heart of our services.

“We have launched a new social work practice model that has had substantial impact on social care practice and assessment. In the long term we are confident and committed to ensuring that this new approach supports improvements to consistency and quality, both in terms of practice, assessment and oversight.

“Foster carers play an essential job in the life of some children and young people.  We value our foster carers highly and must work harder to make sure that they feel supported and that we recruit more foster carers into this very special role.

“Senior managers at the council are fully committed to building on our areas of good practice and bringing consistency across all service areas – further improving the effectiveness of their oversight and management in guiding work at the front line.

“I’d like recognise the continued commitment, professionalism and engagement of frontline staff and managers and also thank the inspectors for their insight and comments.These, along with continued oversight and challenge of our corporate parenting committee and children and families overview and scrutiny committee, will help guide us in our continued improvement of services for children.”

To view the full report visit the Ofsted website