Children’s Services is ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features

Ofsted has rated Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Services as ‘good’ overall with ‘outstanding’ features following an inspection in November 2018.

A report of the findings has now been published following an intensive and rigorous three week examination into the quality and effectiveness of the service.

Ofsted judged our services as ‘Good’ overall, and found that work with children in care and leaving care was ‘Outstanding’.

This represents a significant moment for the Council after several years when the Local Authority’s Children’s Services directorate was subject to intervention.

The inspection demonstrates the sustained progress and improvement made since the Council’s last inspection, in January 2015, when it was judged as ‘requires improvement’.  The report highlights that:

‘Strong and effective leadership and management have led to substantial improvements in both the quality and impact of social work practice since the last inspection in 2015. Senior managers have created a culture in which staff feel safe and valued, enabling social work to flourish.’

Ofsted found strong evidence that the Council’s corporate commitment to Vision 2024 and its core values and determination to be an organisation that focuses on learning, action and treating staff with care and respect are being delivered in practice:

The culture in Calderdale is one of reflection, learning and appropriate action…it is evident across all levels of social care that all staff are treated with dignity and kindness.’

Calderdale Council is thrilled that our work with children in care and care leavers has been recognised as some of the best practice nationally.

Ofsted describes ‘exceptionally committed and caring staff and political leaders placing each child firmly at the centre of their decision making…providing an exceptional service 24 hours a day. They are passionate about young people and talk with great pride about their achievements.’

But the part of the inspection the Council is most proud of is what our children and young people who we seek to support and protect told the Ofsted team:

Young people were positively glowing about the support they receive. They described to inspectors how they are treated ‘like family’ and how staff ‘go the extra mile for them.’

Ofsted found that improvement is still required in some areas and some processes need to be clearer and more effective, but also recognised that the Council had responded to these issues stating ‘the Council took decisive action immediately to address inspectors’ concerns.’

The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:

This is a major milestone on what has been a long journey for the Council and for Children’s Services and we are extremely proud of the team.  Their commitment throughout this process has been outstanding, particularly at a time of unprecedented demand and financial pressure on the service.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Megan Swift said:

Our goal has always been to ensure that all of our children and young people are able to achieve their potential, regardless of their circumstances.  Some of the findings of this report were extremely moving, particularly the comments from our children who are looked after by the Council.  I know that this will mean a great deal to the team and to our senior leadership team and I thank them for their relentless commitment to improvement, their care and their passion for the service.

Calderdale Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Julie Jenkins said:

This is a fantastic achievement for the team and I have personally thanked everyone for all their hard work.  We’re delighted by the outcome of this inspection and we are extremely proud and touched by the comments from our young people.

We are fully committed to continuing our improvement journey as we want the very best for all our children and young people.  And we will continue to work closely with our partners locally and share best practice with our colleagues in the sector.

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