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Council responds to Ofsted monitoring visit feedback

Children playing - decorativeSefton Council’s Children’s Services was rated as “Inadequate” by Ofsted in 2022 and since then, a Government Commissioner has been appointed to support the Council to achieve a high-quality service for children, young people and families in Sefton.

Ofsted have now been back to Sefton to carry out a “Monitoring Visit” to review the progress made so far.  A letter to the Council from HM inspector, Lisa Summers, reports on the improvements that have been made, and those yet to be implemented.

Positive difference

Responding to the letter from Ofsted, Dr Risthardh Hare, Interim Director of Education and Children’s Services, said: “Whilst I acknowledge that Sefton Council Children’s Services and partners still have work to do on our improvement journey, I was pleased that Ofsted have recognised how changes over the last year are starting to make a positive difference in areas such as services for disabled children and children with complex needs, senior management oversight and stability in the workforce, which were all key elements of our initial phase of our Improvement Plan.

“Our dedicated staff are committed to delivering the improvements needed. Social workers feel valued and listened to and value the training opportunities they now have and have been able to implement their learning.

“Of course, I was disappointed to read that the inspectors thought the pace of improvement has been too slow in some areas. Recruitment and retention of social workers remains a significant challenge and barrier to improvement, as it is for others across the country, and we continue to depend on agency social workers, but we have taken steps to address this including the introduction of our Social Work Academy and recruitment of social workers from overseas.

“We’ve already sought to address some of the concerns that Ofsted raised when they visited us in February and have created a brand-new Transformation Team to push forward with our improvement plans.

“Demand is at unprecedented levels, which is why the Council has committed additional resources to support the delivery of our improvement plans and to address the challenges we face in the recruitment of permanent social workers and in the children’s care market.”

Top priority

Sefton Council’s ambitious plans are a collective top priority for everyone responsible for caring for vulnerable children; elected members, council employees across the organisation and various partner agencies – all playing a part in driving improvements to the system so we can all deliver better outcomes for children. 

Significant financial investment

Dr Hare continued: “There is still work to do, but we are confident that with our committed workforce and partners, the significant financial investment into Children’s Services, our ambitious plans can be delivered, and improvements made at pace.

“Improving our service is not just about improving the Ofsted rating, it’s about making sure children benefit from the best services, care and support possible, making sure they are safe, protected and inspired to reach their full potential.”

You can find Ofsted’s letter here.