A MONITORING visit of Children’s Services by Ofsted inspectors has found “substantial progress” has been made in key areas.
The visit found there was a more supportive, corporate environment across the department which had helped strengthen and accelerate the capacity for improvement.
Inspectors also said good progress had been made with the recruitment of permanent managers in the section.
The monitoring visit in October was the fourth since Reading’s Children’s Services were judged inadequate by Ofsted in June 2016.
The Ofsted letter released today praises the quality and impact of early help work and how it is improving children’s outcomes.
It says: “Skilled, experienced early help practitioners and their managers have a stronger profile and influence in Children’s Services.”
Morale in the early help service is described as high and managers are said to be working constructively and purposefully with schools, health and other partner agencies.
The Single Point of Access (SPA), which was established in July to deal with all levels of issues relating to young people, is resulting in quickly developing more effective inter-agency working and relationships, says the monitoring letter.
It continues to say: “Experienced, committed social workers and managers have been recruited to work in the SPA, and the impact is demonstrated in prompt responses to contacts and referrals, and in improved decision-making.”
Social workers told inspectors they were well supported by managers on a day-to-day basis and received regular case supervision.
Good progress has been made with the recruitment of permanent third-tier service managers and significant inroads are being made into the recruitment of more permanent team managers.
Summing up, the Inspector says: “The recently appointed permanent Chief Executive has created a more supportive, corporate environment across Children’s Services and this is strengthening and accelerating the capacity for improvement.”
Cllr Jan Gavin, Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said:
“The hard work of managers and staff in the Children’s Services team is now starting to show positive results.
“We have said all along that we want to be sure that any changes being put in place are sustainable and provide an improved service in the long term.
“Of course, we accept there is still much to be done and there is no room for complacency but it is pleasing to receive positive feedback from the Inspector and recognition we are heading in the right direction.
“May I thank the Director of Children’s Services, Ann Marie Dodds for her leadership, drive and energy to improve the lives and outcomes for children in Reading.”
Ofsted’s latest monitoring visit letter was published today (Nov 24) and can be found at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/reading