Ofsted praise for Kirklees Children’s Services

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A national watchdog has praised Children’s Services for giving excellent support to vulnerable children.

Ofsted highlighted our work with children who are in care, recognising many strengths which improve outcomes for young people and help them to enjoy the best start in life.

Ofsted inspectors carried out a ‘focused visit’ to Children’s Services and looked at the experiences of children in care, how the best living arrangements are made for them and the quality of social work and management.

They found:

  • A culture where strong social work practice improves outcomes for children who need a permanent home
  • Skilled and committed social workers who work in a sensitive, child-centred way
  • Services for children in care are prioritised by the council, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Ambitious and effective senior leaders, with strong corporate and political support
  • Political leaders scrutinise data and challenge the senior leaders of social care. Senior leaders in social care have a good understanding about the quality of practice and of children’s experiences
  • The Cabinet member for Children is well informed, holds councillors and officers to account and is a champion for children
  • Children are supported to remain with their birth family where it is safe to do so. If this isn’t possible, action is taken swiftly
  • Children’s views are sought and they are well informed about their care plans. Children’s voices are fully represented in the plans that affect them
  • Young people receive effective support when they are moving towards independent living
  • Social workers know their children extremely well and there is trust within these relationships

A joint statement has been issued by Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet member for Children, along with the council’s political group leaders – Cllr Shabir Pandor (Labour and Leader of the Council), Cllr David Hall (Conservative), Cllr John Lawson (Liberal Democrat), Cllr Andrew Cooper (Green) and Cllr Charles Greaves (Independents). They said:

“Supporting children is an absolute priority for all of us and we are delighted with this outcome, which shows our unwavering commitment to helping children and young people to thrive.

“Children who come into care have often faced difficult upbringings which can impact on their long-term life chances. It’s incredibly important to us that they receive all the help we can give.

“Ofsted’s visit looked at a specific part of children’s social care, but we believe their findings reflect the improvements we have been making across the board over a number of years.

“Whilst there is still work to do – and our aim is to be outstanding in every single aspect of the support we provide – we are clearly heading in the right direction.

“We would like to thank all the staff teams for their hard work and passion, which we know improves the lives of children and families across Kirklees.

“Working together, we want to make a profound difference and put children’s voices at the heart of everything we do. We want every child to be protected, to fulfil their potential and – no matter how many problems they have faced – to have the same opportunities as those who are more fortunate.”

 

Ofsted’s visit took place in October and they have now published a letter with their findings. You can read the full outcome on Ofsted’s website.