Ofsted praises council’s children’s services

Ofsted Published: Tuesday, 6th March 2018

The standard of care provided by Warrington Borough Council for vulnerable children in the borough has been praised by the education watchdog.

As part of a ‘focused visit’, Ofsted looked at the council’s arrangements for children in need, child protection and children on the ‘edge of care’– and found that the council is performing well.

Inspectors found that interventions for children in need and those subject to a child protection plan are applied at the right time, and at right level; while the right support is in place to bring about change and reduce the risk of harm. 

Social workers were praised for carrying out regular visits with children and taking time to understand their experiences; and appropriately-tailored interventions, which take account of complex needs, were highlighted.

Inspectors also praised the wide range of targeted work that takes place to support children experiencing neglect and abuse; the timely, creative and focused support given to children at risk of family breakdown; and effective partnership working between health, education and police professionals.

Ofsted’s report concluded: “Children in need of help and protection receive a service that is mostly timely, proportionate and keeps them safe. The local authority provides child-centred, focused support to families who are experiencing difficulties. Children at risk of family breakdown and on the edge of care receive a broad range of targeted multiagency interventions to help build resilience and improve outcomes.”

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for children’s services, Cllr Jean Carter, said: “Our officers work tirelessly to provide the highest possible quality of care for our most vulnerable children, and I’m very pleased that this work has been recognised by Ofsted.

“We want to ensure every child has access to the right support when they need it, and that every step is taken to protect children from harm. We work closely with our partners every day to achieve this, and this latest Ofsted report shows we are doing a lot of things right.

“However, we know that we can improve, and we will be taking on-board all of the recommendations in the report, so that we can continue to drive up the quality of services we provide for every child in need in Warrington.”

Ofsted inspectors looked at a range of evidence during their visit, holding discussions with social workers, managers, parents and senior child protection officers. They also looked at local authority performance management and quality assurance information, along with almost 50 children’s case records.

The inspections found no priority actions for the council to take and also praised the council’s stable, skilled and experienced workforce, along with manageable caseloads, which are enabling social workers to better respond to children’s needs.