Issue - meetings
Inspection of Herefordshire Children's Services
Meeting: 29/09/2022 - Cabinet (Item 151)
To present the recently published report detailing the findings of the inspection by Ofsted inspectors of Herefordshire Council children’s services in July 2022 and to outline both the action taken immediately and since the inspection to address some of the concerns raised, and the implications of the Statutory Direction issued by the Secretary of State.
- Appendix A - Ofsted Inspection Report, item 151 PDF 190 KB
- Appendix B - Statutory Direction, item 151 PDF 106 KB
The cabinet member children and families introduced the report and highlighted that the published Ofsted report would also be debated at Council on 30 September. The inspection had concluded that the overall effectiveness of the council’s children’s services was inadequate. The cabinet member accepted the judgement and apologised to children, young people and their families who have not received the support that they needed when they needed it.
The cabinet member highlighted key points of the report and that:
· The council was not complacent about the current and historical challenges and welcomed the additional support provided;
· The leadership team had acted quickly to address immediate concerns raised during the inspection and agreed with the priorities for focus;
· All cases identified as being potentially at risk were reviewed and action taken to increase capacity where needed;
· Inspectors had met many dedicated and committed social workers and managers;
· Partnerships and multi-agency arrangements are mentioned in three of the nine key areas for improvement and would require both a whole council and multi-agency response.
Following the inspection the Department for Education issued a Statutory Direction to Herefordshire Council and the Secretary of State appointed a commissioner for children’s services. The commissioner spoke to introduce herself and to explain her role and approach to supporting the improvements that were needed.
Cabinet members discussed the report and noted that:
· The whole council would need to work together to deliver the improvements required and all cabinet members would be considering how to support this;
· The new leadership team was now in place and would work with the external support provided;
· Progress would be reported to cabinet on a regular basis, the required action plan would be approved in December and Ofsted would undertake quarterly monitoring visits which would be reported on to both cabinet and the children and young people scrutiny committee;
· Additional support was being provided to children’s services and recruitment to additional posts was in progress, including to business support roles.
Group leaders put forward the views and queries of their respective groups. In response to queries raised it was noted that:
· The deterioration despite the issues raised in previous inspections was concerning;
· All cases of concern identified during the inspection had been audited and reviewed;
· The service performance framework and data reporting was being built almost from scratch and improving management line of sight;
· The external support provided by the commissioner for children’s services was welcomed.
The leader of the council concluded the discussion and challenged all those involved to consider what would be different this time to ensure improvement was delivered.
It was resolved that:
a) Cabinet receive and note the Ofsted inspection report;
b) Cabinet note any comments and recommendations from the extraordinary council meeting to be held on 30 September 2022, these to be considered prior to the submission of the action plan to Ofsted by 20 December 2022;
c) Cabinet to receive updated reports until further notice of actions taken and improvements against the inspection report; and
d) The ... view the full minutes text for item 151