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Children’s Services Ofsted inspection

Liverpool City Council has committed to tackling failings identified in an Ofsted inspection of its Children’s Services department, which has ranked the service as ‘inadequate’ overall.

The inspection that took place in March covered all aspects of children’s social care and early help.

The outcome of the inspection is that Ofsted rated services as:

• The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection – Inadequate

• The experiences and progress of children in care – Requires Improvement to be good

• The experiences and progress of care leavers – Inadequate

• The impact of leaders on practice with children and families – Inadequate

• Overall effectiveness – Inadequate

They raised concerns about capacity, workload, delays in ensuring the needs of children are met and child protection, concluding that there are ‘serious weaknesses for children who need help and protection, which leave children being harmed or at risk of harm’.

They have listed 11 areas of improvement including caseloads and supervision; identification and response to risk; the quality of social work practice; support, advice and guidance for care leavers, robustness of senior management oversight and the quality of information for care leavers.

On a more positive note, they found that the Council’s early help offer is ‘effective’, and the work to support children who are at risk of immediate harm, is ‘mostly swift’.

The response to homeless 16 and 17 year olds is praised, while children who go missing from education were found to be ‘robustly tracked and monitored’.

And most children in care were found to be ‘safe and settled where they live’, although some were found to wait too long for permanent matching.

The report notes that interim Chief Executive Theresa Grant has “substantially accelerated the pace of improvement through additional financial investment and securing increased social work capacity, and [that] work is under way to address placement sufficiency issues”.

They also recognised that governance and scrutiny arrangements have been strengthened to support a restructure of the service, and there have been successes in social work recruitment.

The full report can be read here: