We're accelerating improvement plans, which aim to increase investment and put children at the centre of our social care transformation, following an inspection by Ofsted in January.
A report detailing the findings of the inspection can be found below.
Ofsted looked at three areas and made the following judgements;
- the impact of leaders on social work practice - requires improvement to be good
- the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers - requires improvement to be good
- the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection - inadequate
The judgement relating to help and protection means that children's services in Hull overall are rated as inadequate.
The report is clear that our response is timely and appropriate when children are at immediate risk of significant harm. It acknowledges recent improvements in the experiences of children in care and care leavers and highlights a number of areas where better practice is evident including;
- improvements in fostering and adoption
- early help services
- support for children who are on the edge of care; the success of these services means fewer teenagers coming into emergency care and being supported to remain within their familes
- tackling child sexual exploitation
- improving management oversight and supervision
- opportunities for children and care leavers to shape how their services are developed and delivered
Ofsted's report also recognises that strong leaership from senior managers and politicians is driving improvements in children's services. At the time of the inspection, we were 18 months into a major transformation programme, which had seen progress in many key areas the authority had identified for early action, including the timeliness of assessments and increasing the number of social workers.
Ofsted's report concludes that we have not yet sufficiently addressed weaknesses in frontline practice and management oversight and that more needs to be done to improve the recognition of risk and the quality of social work practice for children in need of help and protection.
Since January, we have reviewed and refined our improvement programme to respond to Ofsted's detailed findings and recommendations. In additiona to injecting a further £2m into children's services, we have;
- carried out audits and independent oversight of more than 150 cases in addition to the council's ongoing regular audit programme
- implemented changes to improve the quality of private fostering placements
- provided training for staff to improve practice in key areas including risk assessments and family meetings
- hosted visits from staff in high performing authorities to provide support to the improvement programme and learn from their good practice