In July this year, an inspection team from Ofsted spent some four weeks assessing how well Children’s Services and the Local Safeguarding Children Board are providing services and safeguarding children.
The visit was welcomed by officers, members and the Safeguarding Board as it offered an opportunity to receive an objective appraisal of progress on our journey of improvement.
In its inspection report published on 4 September 2017 http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/walsall Ofsted rated Children’s Services in Walsall as ‘Requiring Improvement to be Good’ overall, with adoption being rated as ‘Good’.
Other features of good practice were also recognised such as the priority being given to improving children’s services by senior leaders and elected members and how this is influencing positive services and improving outcomes for many children. However, Ofsted reinforced the local authority’s own assessment that there are some areas for future improvement.
Councillor Aftab Nawaz, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said:
“The recommendations made by the inspection team are all being addressed in existing improvement action plans. The pace of improvement is steady and I’m keen to see that we keep our collective feet on the accelerator.”
“I am pleased with the report and satisfied that we are moving in the right direction for children and their families. There were no surprises for us; the inspection team has confirmed that we are exactly where we assessed ourselves to be on our journey to be rated ‘Good’.”
“To put the rating into context, just under 50% of councils in the country are rated as Requiring Improvement to be Good’. However, we are firmly focussed on improving our rating.
“The inspectors recognised that our social workers know the families they are working with well, that children are only taken into care when it is absolutely necessary and that we find permanent new homes for the children in our care when they need them.”