13 May 2023
Welcome to our Children’s Services Ofsted inspection report special
Today Ofsted have published their inspection of local authority children’s services (ILACS) report following our full inspection back in March.
Ofsted Inspectors have praised West Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services for its ‘relentless approach to improving practice,’ giving the service an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’, with two ‘good’ judgements and two that ‘require improvement to be good’. This rating is up from the last full inspection of Children’s Services back in 2019, when all areas were rated as inadequate.
Inspectors recognised the ‘strong, determined and cohesive leadership team’ who have made significant improvements since 2019.
The key findings from the report were:
- Most children coming into care make good progress
- The voice of children and young people is strong and well-considered in decision-making
- Early Help support is making a positive difference to children’s lives
- Staff benefit from a wide range of support, and training and development opportunities; and feel valued
- The implementation of the new Family Safeguarding practice model has been carefully considered with clear plans for the next steps
- Partnership working is improving, although there is more to do
- Leaders have been determined to shift the organisational culture and put children first
- Practice in some teams is variable and more work is needed to ensure all children receive a consistent service
- The advice and support provided to care leavers aged 21 and over requires improvement
- Placement choice for children who are looked after requires improvement
- There needs to be a stronger response to specific children aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless or who are missing from home.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for children and young people, said: ‘I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised the huge progress we have made over the past four years.
“The outcome of this inspection is testament to the determination and hard work of all our staff across Children’s Services and the county council. We have been relentless in our approach to put children first and drive sustained improvement within our services.
“We know we have more work to do so all our children and young people receive a good level of service. Ofsted have recognised our commitment to make further improvements and these areas are being addressed as part of our new continuous improvement plan and the West Sussex County Council priority to keep people safe from vulnerable situations.”
Paul Marshall, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This council has been resolute in its commitment to improving our Children’s Services.
“Over the past four years, we have made significant investment in our services and ensured the political and corporate weaknesses reported in 2019 have been fully addressed. I am pleased Ofsted can see the positive changes both corporately and politically which is acknowledged in their report.
“I would like to thank our members, staff, children, young people and families, partners and our Commissioner John Coughlan for their unwavering support and scrutiny which has supported us to get to this position and will enable our ongoing improvement journey.”
If you would like to read the full report it is available here.