Children’s services rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted

Ofsted result
Children’s services team members with Cllr Russ Bowden (back row, fourth from right) and Cllr Matt Smith (far right) celebrating the Ofsted result.
Published: Tuesday, 20th August 2019

The standard of care provided by Warrington Borough Council has been described as ‘energetic, collaborative and highly committed’ by the national inspectors.

Results of Ofsted’s visit, over two weeks in July this year, has been published today, with the council reported as having ‘built on a bedrock of good practice standards and improved outcomes for children.’

Picked out for particular praise within the official report are:

  • Collaborative multi-agency delivery
  • Early help services
  • The ‘influential’ edge of care service
  • The multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH)
  • Improved arrangements for vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds
  • Strong contextual safeguarding arrangements

Warrington’s children’s services have come a long way since 2009, when Ofsted identified the service as ‘inadequate’ and then in 2015 as ‘requires improvement’.

Council leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “This result is hugely important and is a testament to what can be achieved with skill and determination, but make no mistake, major investment has been required to achieve this result. Warrington’s children’s services have received continuous investment over the last 10 years to improve the support provided to children and families across the borough.

“In many areas we feel our services are outstanding and we will continue to invest, and subsequently improve services which protect our most vulnerable residents. Our aim is for this to be acknowledged and gain an ‘outstanding’ rating next time Ofsted come to call.”

Commenting on praise in the report for ‘vibrant and inquisitive political leadership’, Cllr Matt Smith, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Everybody – from staff and managers to members – has worked really hard to achieve this. It’s a transformation you can see happening in services on the ground, where we are providing better outcomes for our children and young people across the borough, but particularly for children in our care and children and young people in need of support and protection, and their families.”

The report also highlighted that ‘leaders and senior managers are energetic, collaborative and highly committed to the continued improvement of services for vulnerable children’.

Steve Peddie, executive director of families and wellbeing, said: “The most important thing for us is how we’re doing in supporting children and families in Warrington and how we are supporting our staff working in very challenging circumstances. Our officers work tirelessly to provide the highest possible quality of care for our most vulnerable children, and I’m thrilled that this work has been recognised by Ofsted.”

As part of the full inspection, Ofsted looked at the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection, children in care and care leavers, and the overall effectiveness of services.

Inspectors also found that the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) contains an array of co-located partners and that this multi-agency environment facilitates ‘swift information-sharing, and largely prompt and appropriate decisions’. Children at risk of harm are also protected by timely and rigorous responses from the MASH’s out-of-hours service.

Amanda Amesbury, operational director of children’s social care, said: “In Warrington we have a really effective partnership working between health, education, the Police and other public service professionals. This enables necessary interventions to be arranged quickly, often while assessments are in progress, so that children do not have to wait for the help they need.

“Our practice is based on having good relationships with families and 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 report shows we are doing a lot of things right.”

You can read the full report on the Ofsted website.