Ofsted says council making ‘steady progress’ to improve children’s services
Buckinghamshire County Council is making ‘steady progress’ to improve children’s services, with most children “receiving helpful support when they are first referred to children’s social care”, according to Ofsted in its monitoring letter published today.
The letter outlines the results of a visit made to the council’s children’s services in May 2019. This was the third ‘monitoring visit’, following the outcome of the November 2017 inadequate judgement made by Ofsted.
Inspectors considered a range of evidence, including case records, discussions with social workers and managers, and reviewing other supporting documentation.
The report noted the senior leadership team is “steadfastly determined to improve the quality of services for children” and that “substantial improvements” have been made to areas of the service which had previously fallen short. It added that the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) systems are “efficient, leading to timely and decisive action for most children”.
The report stated that management oversight of services had been strengthened and social work caseloads have reduced, leaving social workers better able to support children and families.
Areas needing further improvement were also highlighted – these included some inconsistencies in certain practices within the MASH and assessment teams. While responses to clients were deemed to be mostly effective, there can be unnecessary delays in some processes and some areas of work – while generally improving – can sometimes be of variable quality.
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “This is another encouraging report and confirms that our work to improve children’s services in Buckinghamshire is proceeding well.
“There is no doubt we have more to do, however, to deliver the services that children in Buckinghamshire deserve. We are determined to continue our efforts to make the improvements highlighted in this report.
“We are grateful to all our staff for their hard work and dedication as we work to further strengthen our services.”