THE DEPARTMENT of Education has ended its intervention in Worcestershire County Council after more than five years, following ‘significant improvement’.
The system was deemed to be failing following an Ofsted inspection back in 2016 but the DoE’s ‘Statutory Direction’ has now been removed.
Will Quince MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, said ‘elected members, senior leaders, partners and staff at all levels in Worcestershire had demonstrated a commitment to achieving the improvements’.
And he praised the improvements from five years ago, following recent focused visits.
Ofsted’s 2019 report highlighted examples of strong practice across the service, including a strengthened front door MASH and an improved children in need and child protection practices.
In Ofsted’s latest report, inspectors said: “The local authority has made strong progress in improving the quality of practice for children and families in receipt of services at its ‘Family Front Door’ since the inspection in June 2019.”
Tina Russell, who holds the combined role as Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First and WCC Director of Children’s Services said everyone was delighted with the improvements.
“As Minister Quince’s letter acknowledges, there are significant challenges in delivering high quality and effective children’s social care services, especially over the recent Covid-19 response period.
“I am continually impressed, proud and grateful to all our staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable children and families now have access to an improved quality of service.”
He added as a dedicated children’s services company, it would work through its business plans and use its quality assurance work to continue to learn and develop, understanding itself and the difference it was making to the lives of children and young people.
Coun Andy Roberts, cabinet member with responsibility children and families, said, “It’s great to see the significant progress made by Worcestershire Children First in safeguarding and the services for vulnerable children in the county, has been recognised by the Department for Education.”