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You can now find all our latest news stories on the Council website at www.sefton.gov.uk/mysefton-news

Screenshot of a Sefton Council website news pageWe have now moved all latest news to the main Sefton Council website at www.sefton.gov.uk/mysefton-news.

This will help make it easier for everyone to find the information they need in an accessible format. By turning on the site’s Recite Me, you can use the service to read website pages out loud in different voices and languages, increase and decrease the size of the text and change the type-style – including into a Dyslexic-friendly font.

This site will continue as a searchable news archive. 

See you at the new MySefton-News!

 

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.

 

 

Sefton Council Pledges to Break Down Barriers for Disabled People Across Our Community

Sefton Council has reinforced its commitment to breaking down barriers for disabled people in our community, through the signing of the Disability Impact Pledge.

The Disability Impact Pledge has been designed by the Disability Policy Centre, an independent social enterprise. It is dedicated to improving the lives of disabled people, through public sector reform and the formation of local and national policy.

The commitments 

Those in attendance to sign the Disability Impact Pledge. A group sat around a table, holding the signed pledge.The pledge details Sefton Council’s commitment to:

  • Ensuring accessibility of communication, both on the Council website and any documents.
  • Encouraging participation and representation at all levels.
  • Consultation and events to guarantee everyone’s voice is heard.
  • Support for staff with disabilities.
  • Providing inclusive services and policies, and understanding the barriers that people may face.

Representatives from local disability community organisations, including Southport Access for All, Ability Plus and The Pocklington Trust were invited to a disability awareness day, where they discussed the barriers that exist for local residents, business owners and community groups, as well as employees of Sefton Council.

The Pledge was signed by all present, including Cllr Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, and officers and staff from Sefton Council.

Speaking about the pledge, Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “Sefton Council is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for both our residents and employees.

“Inclusivity and accessibility are at the forefront of our thinking and planning, and we are actively listening to the voices of people with disabilities.

“This pledge is our way of setting ourselves achievable goals, which help us to provide the best services possible to the people of Sefton.”

Equality and inclusion

The pledge aligns with the Council’s existing Equality, Inclusion and Diversity (EDI) Strategy, and will set out the way in which the organisation will work together with staff, partners, and the local community to ensure the Council provides an accessible and inclusive environment for all.

The Disability Policy Centre’s ambition is to break down barriers for disabled people across Sefton, and we look forward to working with partners along this journey.

For more information about the Council’s work to advance equality, visit: www.sefton.gov.uk/your-council/plans-policies/communities/equality-and-diversity/ 

 

Sefton social workers celebrated with marketplace event

This week, Sefton Council brought together social workers, staff and partners for a special marketplace event at Bootle Town Hall.A hall with stalls running lengthways and people crowded around.

The marketplace was held to celebrate World Social Work Day, which fell on Tuesday 21st March this year.

Learning opportunity

Over 100 social workers, partners and staff attended the event. Unlike a traditional marketplace, that offers food and goods, Tuesday’s event was a chance for attendees to sample useful knowledge from different sources.

Among the 32 groups hosting stalls were Sefton Council’s fostering service, social work academy, and occupational therapy team, as well as local charity Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid (SWACA) and Sefton’s Building Attachment and Bonds Service (BABS).

Help and support

The event was described as a great success by those attending, with one person stating that it was “great to find out about all the different services” and another adding that they “didn’t realise there was so much help” for social workers and residents across the Borough.

Cllr Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said: “Social workers are the backbone of our social care in Sefton.

We wanted to take this opportunity both to celebrate their good work as well as to share ideas to help us grow together.

“Children’s Services are working on a number of fantastic projects and we value our strong ties with Adult Social Care. This marketplace was the ideal way to showcase these.

“I’m delighted that we had a fantastic attendance and I hope everyone who came got something positive out of it.”

People holding leaflets from a stall about domestic abuse.Cllr Paul Cummins, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Sharing best practice is such an important part of social care.

“I am glad that we could do this in a way that allowed us to celebrate the hard work and dedication shown by our staff and our partners.

“I was really pleased to meet lots of people who had a real passion for the work that they are doing, and I enjoyed the afternoon.”

To find out more about Children’s and Adult Social Care in Sefton, visit https://www.sefton.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/

Sefton Council’s Housing Standards Enforcement Policy update approved

Sefton Council’s Housing Standards Enforcement Policy, which sets out the Council’s continued commitment to improving housing standards across all tenures has been updated and approved.

The Policy sets out how the Council’s Housing Standards Team can ensure that tenants of private landlords and Registered Providers of Social Housing live in homes free from significant hazards that pose a risk to their health, safety and wellbeing.

It also states how the Enforcement Team can ensure properties do not present a statutory nuisance and do not present an unacceptable risk to health and safety.

It enables them to ensure houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are safe and well managed and where necessary, properties are licensed. And it makes sure all properties in Sefton comply with the legal requirements in relation to Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This policy update ensures our Enforcement teams are able to go out and work to ensure that tenants in all types of housing are safe and that landlords are meeting their requirements.

“The Policy covers all categories of rented accommodation and all landlords including social landlords and we have reviewed it as part of our response to the to the tragic death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale from mould inhalation.

“Updating the policy is part of Sefton Council’s ongoing commitment to working with landlords to ensure tenants’ safety and follows on from recent five-year extension of our successful Selective and Additional (HMO) Licensing schemes, which have helped us remove over 3,000 serious health and safety hazards from rented homes since 2018.”

You can find out more about housing in Sefton at www.sefton.gov.uk/housing

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