Inspectors recognise improvement in Children's Services

Inspectors recognise improvement in Children's Services
21 May 2018

OFSTED has recognised the “considerable achievement” made by Darlington Borough Council as it has strived to improve its Children’s Services in recent years.

Inspectors have graded Children’s Services in Darlington as ‘Requires Improvement to be Good’, following the ‘Inadequate’ rating in 2015.

Following the 2015 inspection, the Council has worked to address the recommendations made by Ofsted inspectors. These efforts have been recognised in this most recent report, which is published today (Monday 21 May).

The most recent inspection, which took place over four weeks in February and March, concluded that improvements have been made across Children’s Services since 2015, while also sustaining the quality of those services that were judged to be good at that time.

Inspectors reported that children continue to be safe in Darlington, with no unmanaged risk and timely and effective responses where risks are identified.

Inspectors also found:

  • Performance management improved markedly
  • A broad range of services are available to support children and families at an early stage
  • Looked after children live in good quality placements and are well supported to maintain contact with their birth families and to pursue leisure interests
  • Education outcomes for looked after children are improving and compare favourably to national averages
  • The quality of the adoption and care leavers services has been sustained and is good
  • The council has been creative and imaginative enhancing its reputation as an employer to improve staff recruitment and retention
  • There is effective corporate and political oversight and scrutiny
  • Partnership working is generally well developed and effective

Ofsted also highlighted a number of areas for continued improvement and has made recommendations to support this.

Suzanne Joyner, Darlington Borough Council’s Director of Children’s and Adult Services, said: “It’s very pleasing that Ofsted has recognised the progress and improvements that have been made since 2015. There are lots of areas where we can be justifiably proud - children’s needs are assessed in a timely manner, and they feel that their voices are heard.

“We can not and will not rest on our laurels, our improvement journey will continue, we aim to be graded good in the future. We will all continue to work hard to give children and young people in Darlington the best possible start in life.”

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “As an organisation, we have learned a lot from one inspection to the next. We prioritised the recruitment and retention of dedicated staff who will provide timely, quality assessments and support for our most vulnerable children and young people.

“I am proud that we have been recognised for the many improvements made.  With the help of our partners in education, health and the community, we will continue to strive for sustained good practice to improve the lives of children and young people in Darlington.”

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