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Following a focused visit in December 2021 of children’s services at Warrington Borough Council, Ofsted has recently published its findings.
The visit found that the council continues to provide an effective and well-co-ordinated, multi-agency response for children and young people. When children are at risk of harm, their needs are recognised in a timely way, which ensures that most children receive the right help at the right time.
The report also stated that there continues to be a well-developed response from partners, which supports professionals to work in an integrated way with the most vulnerable children and families. There is also a strong focus on learning and improvement, with regular audits of practice and a clear understanding of areas of strength and development.
Inspectors also recommended two areas for improvement before the next full inspection. This includes ensuring the ‘voice of the child’ is captured in case records, so that their wishes and feelings inform future planning, and an action to record decision-making at child protection conferences, so that the rationale for next steps is clear.
Cllr Sarah Hall, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Our children’s social care services are working well and our dedicated teams continue to achieve positive outcomes when working with some of our most vulnerable children and families in Warrington. We always strive to ensure that children and young people receive the right support at the right time, by looking at each case individually and providing appropriate support from a highly skilled, multi-agency team.
“Our children’s services were rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted during a full inspection in August 2019, where the standard of care provided by the council was described as ‘energetic, collaborative and highly committed’. This follow-up focused visit serves to demonstrate that the council remains on the right track.
“We welcome the findings of the focused visit and take on board the areas we know we can improve, and there is now an action plan in place to support this work.”
The council’s Director of Children’s Social Care, Amanda Amesbury, said: “I am incredibly proud of my team and the work they do every day to ensure children and young people are safe and well cared for in Warrington. The effort of our colleagues across children’s social care is exemplary – and we are all working with the shared vision of ensuring that all of our children and young people get the help and support they need, in the right way, at the right time.
“The pandemic has led to increased pressure across the system and a rise in the number and complexity of referrals. We recognise the impact this has had on the emotional wellbeing of staff so we are looking at innovative ways to provide them with as much support as possible, to make sure they can keep on supporting our young people and families.
“We have therefore secured additional funding to recruit a clinical psychologist ‘life coach’ to help our social workers cope with the demands of their challenging, complex work environment. We value our staff and they work tirelessly to provide the highest possible quality of care for our most vulnerable children and families, and I’m so pleased that this work is recognised by Ofsted.”
To read the full report, visit Ofsted’s website. To find out more about joining Warrington’s children’s social care team, visit warrington.gov.uk/join-our-childrens-social-care-team