Ofsted inspection reveals 11 areas where council must improve children’s services

A damning report Ofsted described Liverpool Council’s services for young people as “inadequate” and cited “serious weaknesses”.

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Almost a dozen areas have been identified where Liverpool Council must improve as it reels from a damning Ofsted inspection of its children’s services.

In May, the education inspectorate delivered an excoriating report describing local authority services for young people as “inadequate” and cited “serious weaknesses” for children who need help or protection, leaving children “being harmed or at risk of harm.” After an inspection in March, the children’s services department has been rated as inadequate in four out of five of the key areas – including the overall rating.

A new report has identified 11 areas in which the city council aims to sharpen up as it prepares for its first monitoring visit from Ofsted officials.

Assessing the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, the education watchdog said the council had shown “insufficient prioritisation and pace in tackling critical areas necessary to enable improvement.” Documents to be discussed by the council’s children and young people scrutiny committee next week confirmed Ofsted are expected to conduct their first monitoring inspection later this month.

Up to four visits can be carried out per year over the next two years, with an anticipated six before a full re-inspection. Liverpool Council has also been allocated an improvement advisor by the Department for Education (DfE) to “provide a clear and sustained focus on areas for improvement and to ensure independent oversight.”

Teacher monitoring student’s€™ work during examination test in class. Image: JackF - stock.adobe.comTeacher monitoring student’s€™ work during examination test in class. Image: JackF - stock.adobe.com
Teacher monitoring student’s€™ work during examination test in class. Image: JackF - stock.adobe.com

The report, to go before councillors at Liverpool Town Hall next week, set out 11 areas in which the council needs to improve upon. These include:

  • Caseloads and regular reflective supervision
  • The identification of and response to risk by social workers and partner agencies
  • The quality of decision making, and the timely access to emotional and mental health support
  • Dental care for young people.

Following the publication of the Ofsted findings, the council set up an improvement board, which met for the first time in July. Council leader Liam Robinson, cabinet member Liz Parsons, as well as chief officers and the DfE independent advisor are among those sitting on the board, which is chaired by a “well-respected” former local authority chief executive with a background in social work.

The council’s own improvement plan is to be shared with Ofsted this month. The report said: “The plan will be in place for two years, the initial focus will be on stabilising the workforce, understanding need and demand and ensuring sufficient staffing and leadership is in place to drive the much needed improvements.

“Investment has been obtained, from within Liverpool Council and the DfE, to support improvement.”