Issue - meetings

Fourth Ofsted Monitoring Visit feedback

Meeting: 28/03/2024 - Cabinet (Item 108)

108 Fourth Ofsted Monitoring Visit feedback pdf icon PDF 212 KB

To share the feedback letter from Ofsted following their fourth Monitoring Visit conducted on 21 - 22 February 2024.


Additional documents:


The leader opened the discussion by thanking the departing corporate director of children and young people for his hard work and dedication over what had been an extremely challenging two year period.


The cabinet member for children and young people provided an overview of the feedback from Ofsted following its fourth monitoring visit to Hereford’s Children’s Services on 21 and 22 February 2024.


It was explained that the areas covered by the visit were: children in care aged 16 and 17 years old, and care leavers. The Ofsted inspectors had acknowledged that improvements continued to be made, but noted that the pace of change wasn’t swift enough and the quality of practice needed to be more consistent.


The cabinet member for children and young people pointed out that two member briefings - regarding the Ofsted feedback - had been delivered on 27 March and that questions and observations from members had been recorded and would be reflected on.


It was pointed out that during the member briefings, discussions had taken place about contributions from partners, and the need to work with and challenge partners to improve the timeliness of service deliveries.


The cabinet member for children and young people read out the headline findings as detailed in Appendix A of the report.


The inspectors had acknowledged that significant additional funding had been put into the service and agreed for the next few years, but that this had not yet resulted in significant improvement.


It was highlighted that Ofsted inspectors had provided verbal feedback prior to the formal report and the service had already started to respond to this.


The cabinet member pointed out that the improvement plan, which responded to the findings of the inspection of local authority children services in July 2022, had been reviewed and a draft refresh of the plan for the year 2024/25 had been presented and considered by the Improvement Board and its members on the 20th of March 2024, with a view to presenting the refreshed plan at the cabinet meeting on 25 April 2024. 


Cabinet members had no questions regarding the report.


Group leaders expressed disappointment at the report and felt that it was another case of one step forward and one step back. It was noted that money, time, thought and effort had been put in to improving the service, but unfortunately this had not appeared to have changed things on the ground.


The group leaders praised the proactive engagement of the cabinet member for children and young people with families and within the directorate. There was also praise for the swift actions taken by the service in response to issues flagged up as requiring immediate action by the inspectors.


Concerns were raised about the quality of managerial guidance and direction given to personal advisors (PAs) and a question was asked about progress being made in relation to partnership working.


The Leader of the Council thanked the group leaders for their comments.


The cabinet member for children and young people responded to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108