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Royal Borough children's services 'require improvement', says Ofsted

Royal Borough children's services 'require improvement', says Ofsted

Lucy Elder

Improvements in the effectiveness of children's services at the Royal Borough and its Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) are needed, a report published by Ofsted today has highlighted.

The report, which found the LSCB and children's services 'requires improvement', follows an inspection that took place from March 3-25 this year.

It found that the borough is not yet delivering good protection and help and care for children, young people and families.

The areas assessed were children who need help and protection, children looked after and needing permanence, adoption performance, experiences and progress of care leavers as well as leadership, management and governance.

All of these areas were found to 'require improvement'.

In the summary of findings, published in the report on Ofsted's website, inspectors found that frontline managers do not oversee and manage practice well enough to deliver consistently good standards.

It also found that not all young people who become homeless or who are privately fostered receive an appropriate response to ensure that they are safe.

These are just two of the 11 findings in the report's summary about children's services.

However, this latest inspection did highlight some positives.

These include the fact that all children looked after are now seen alone and have their wishes and feelings identified and recorded, and that advocacy services are now available for them.

The report stated that the director of children's services, who was appointed in June 2013, has built a 'strong and stable' leadership team.

It also found the LSCB is 'increasingly effective' and 'improving from a low baseline'.

Cllr Phill Bicknell, cabinet member for children’s services, said he thought it was 'a very positive report overall'.

“We started at a low base but are now performing at the top end of the grading bracket and are doing as well or better than many other authorities,” he said.

“What matters most to us is the safety and wellbeing of all the children and young people in the Royal Borough and we will continue to make sure this is a top priority and invest in high quality services.”

He added that the borough had already identified a number of the areas for improvement themselves and had begun work to ensure they continue to make progress towards a good or outstanding Ofsted rating.

The last Ofsted inspection of the borough's safeguarding arrangements was in March 2012, which found them to be 'adequate'.

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