Stoke & Staffordshire

Ofsted rates Staffordshire children's services 'good'

Staffordshire County Council's children's services department has been rated "good" by Ofsted - two years after it was branded "poor".

The watchdog said vulnerable children had access to a "wide range of effective services".

It also praised social workers for their understanding of children's needs and circumstances.

Eight areas for improvement were identified but there were no recommendations for immediate action.

'Steady improvement'

Ofsted also awarded the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) a "good" rating based on its findings from January's three-week inspection.

It said the authority had effective leadership and managers had "significantly improved services" in light of previous recommendations.

All of its services, including those for children who need help and protection, looked-after children and monitoring care-leavers, were rated "good".

The report concluded the department had undergone "a journey of steady improvement over several years from a historic position of poor to adequate practice to one where all services are now judged to be good or better".

'Children are safe'

But it called on the authority to do more to "further improve the proportion of care leavers aged 19 in education, employment or training".

Ensuring social work caseloads were manageable, and that assessments consider issues relating to children's ethnicity and cultural identity were also among recommendations for improvement.

Mike Lawrence, council cabinet member for children, said the report showed children in the county were safe.

"The improved service for children and families would not have been possible without the dedication, professionalism and sheer hard work of our front line staff," he said.

LSCB head Jackie Carnell said she was "delighted" with the ratings.

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