Ofsted to revisit borough following 'inadequate' rating of children's services

Manchester Evening News 1 month ago

Inspectors are coming back to Trafford next week to see if the borough's "inadequate" children's services have improved.

Social services watchdog Ofsted gave Trafford Council a dressing-down in March and said, since the last inspection in 2015, there had been "widespread deterioration" of service quality across the borough.

Inspectors said senior leaders in the Trafford service "had no awareness of the decline" and were "unaware of significant weaknesses".

Ofsted found that many children in need of early help in the borough were not getting the support they needed fast enough and the council's response to children's needs had left some children living in neglectful situations for too long.

The watchdog added that the council did not support children enough to give their own feedback on the services they were receiving.

 

When asked by councillors what had led to the deterioration, interim director of children services Ged Rowney cited large case loads for social workers and a poor ratio of management staff to social workers; which he said prevented proper oversight.

Coun Andrew Western, council leader, said: "There was a lot of surprise in March, but there is a strong desire from the team to put it right.

"It was a bit of an own goal on our part. We thought we were better than we were and you lose Ofsted's good will to start with when that happens.

Trafford Council leader Andrew Western

"Now, we're taking a much more careful approach when we assess where we're at."

Ofsted are due back in the borough for two days next week between October 15 and 16 to check on the authority's progress.

Before inspectors arrive, Trafford Council is hoping to appoint the borough's first permanent director of children's services in over a decade. Until now all those in the position have been interim directors.

There are four candidates being interviewed and it is hoped an appointment will be made this week.

 

Since the March inspection, Trafford's service leaders have put together a detailed improvement plan and said they are "going back to basics" to improve.

The service is working with the support of the Department for Education as well as Cheshire West and Chester Council to develop.

Ofsted conducted a follow-up visit to the borough in July and found service leaders now better understood the strengths and weakness of their services.

The watchdog will be revisiting Trafford every three to four months to monitor progress.


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