BREAKING: Coventry children's services 'requires improvement', says watchdog Ofsted - The Coventry Observer

BREAKING: Coventry children's services 'requires improvement', says watchdog Ofsted

Coventry Editorial 13th Jun, 2017 Updated: 13th Jun, 2017   0

COVENTRY’S children’s services has been rated by watchdog Ofsted to ‘require improvement’ in caring for the city’s vulnerable youngsters – after years of being deemed ‘inadequate’.

The previous rating in 2014 was made in the aftermath of the murder of four-year-old schoolboy Daniel Pelka in 2012 – when child protection agencies missed chances to intervene.

Ofsted had before and since then for years also been critical of the high number of children in council care in Coventry.

Today, Coventry City Council leaders welcomed the improved rating since being placed in ‘special measures’, which required a wide-ranging improvement plan.

Council leaders today said they ‘vowed to continue its journey of improvement’ after Ofsted inspectors gave what they called a ‘huge boost’.

Following its first full inspection since 2014, Ofsted reported today (Tuesday June 13) that Coventry had moved up to the ‘Requires Improvement’ category.

It follows a four-week visit by a team of 12 Ofsted inspectors.

Council Leader George Duggins said: “When I became leader I was clear that improving children’s services was a priority and that we would financially support the service despite dealing with crushing government cuts.

“I’m pleased Ofsted have recognised the considerable improvements that we have made and I thank everyone who has helped make that happen.

“But this is just the start of our journey to a ‘Good’ rating and I will continue to support everyone who is working to make life better for our children.”

Among its findings, Ofsted reported the council had worked with ‘intense focus’ to improve children’s social care services and ‘to ensure children receive the help and protection they need’.

The city’s focus for improvement has been on ‘early intervention’ in vulnerable families, which Ofsted reported to be ‘effective’ in regard to some services.

Strong strategic leadership across the council presented a ‘clear vision for service improvement’.

And the experiences and progress of care leavers was rated as ‘Good’.

Recommendations in the Ofsted report include continuing to monitor and develop services through the Children’s Improvement Board; to improve the quality of children’s assessments; and working with partners to cut the number of unnecessary referrals to social care that would be ‘better dealt with by community-based services’.

John Gregg, the council’s director of children’s services, said: “We won’t settle for this judgement and we haven’t taken our feet off the pedal since Ofsted left us, in fact we’ve increased the pace – the work we need to do to improve is too important to wait.

“We have a duty to our children and I’m determined we will fulfil that duty. Our journey to good is well underway.”

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