Today, Thursday 9 January, Ofsted published its report on the inspection of Solihull Council’s services for children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers.
The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers was rated as ‘good’ with other areas rated as ‘requires improvement to be good’.
The inspectors acknowledge the Council has strengthened its ‘front door’ multi-agency response and a reconfigured early help service is making a positive difference at an early stage for many families. They could see that children who are at immediate risk are responded to quickly and in most cases, receive timely and effective interventions.
The Council was also recognised for having a stable and consistent workforce which enables children to build positive and trusting relationships with their social workers. The inspectors also found that the vast majority of children live in good quality, stable homes for as long as they need to be looked after, which has a long-term positive outcome on their lives.
Social workers who deal with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were commended as experts in their field, demonstrating extensive, in-depth knowledge and skill to support this group of vulnerable young people.
Whilst the narrative was generally positive across services and many areas of good practice were highlighted, the Council is disappointed with the overall rating as it feels this is not a true reflection of the services being provided.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “We have made significant improvements and changes to children’s services following our previous inspection in 2016. We are disappointed not to be rated as ‘good’ in more areas, but are pleased that Ofsted acknowledge that our vulnerable children, young people and families are safe and supported. And that no children were found to be at immediate risk.
“I do hope people will take the time to read the report in full so they can see a balanced picture of the services we are providing and that we are performing well in many areas.
“But we know that there is always room for improvement and we are already developing our action plan to address the areas they identified as not yet good. We feel we have worked hard to respond to and deal with the previous inspection’s perceived areas for improvement, although more can be done.
“Despite financial pressures, children’s services remain a priority of the Council. Our focus will continue to be on the wellbeing, safety and outcomes of the children in Solihull. We have already provided significant additional investment into these services and we are committed to ensuring we provide the best support and opportunities for our children and young people.”
To view the report in full visit: https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50141244