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Ofsted highlights improvements in children's social care despite the disruption of COVID-19

Date Published: 01 March 2022
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Ofsted has published the results of its focused visit to review children’s services in Rutland. The visit took place in January 2022 as part of Ofsted’s normal inspection framework, with inspectors sent to look at Rutland County Council’s arrangements for children in care.

In a formal letter detailing the inspectors’ findings, Ofsted confirmed that Rutland County Council is maintaining a clear focus on protecting children and improving the quality of social work practice in the county. Inspectors also noted that senior leaders within Rutland’s Children’s Services know their services well and have succeeded in improving care for children and young people despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following key points were noted in Ofsted’s main findings, following its visit to Rutland:

  • Children in care are seen regularly by social workers who know them well. This has continued despite the various COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. 
  • Rutland social workers spend time with children and make sure their views inform decision-making.
  • Rutland social workers work effectively with colleagues and partners to identify and meet children’s needs.
  • Rutland social workers are resourceful in ensuring the right support is in place for children, with well-planned transitions when children move home or school. 
  • Assessments are timely, thorough and informed by the child’s voice, helping to make sure that plans are child-centred. 
  • Children (including disabled children) who are looked after in Rutland live in homes which meet their needs well. 
  • Most children are settled where they are living and do not experience unnecessary moves. This means children can develop secure relationships with their carers.
  • All Rutland children who left care in the last six months aged under one year have permanent care arrangements through adoption or special guardianship. 

Children’s cultural and religious needs are well considered in Rutland and social workers go to great lengths to make sure that children can access community resources to avoid them being isolated.

Rutland children receive the right support with their physical and mental health. 

All the children spoken to during the visit were positive about how their social workers help them, and all felt that their individual needs were being met. They described being happy, secure and safe.

Ofsted highlighted just one area for improvement – the need to further improve the way in the which data is recorded and reviewed in instances where children are absent from care. However, inspectors also acknowledged that the Council already has plans in place to address this.

“This is a really positive review of Children’s Services in Rutland and something we can be very proud of. To receive this kind of feedback would be fantastic in normal times. The fact that our services have been able to provide this standard of care and support during a global pandemic is exceptional and a credit to the hard work of frontline staff and managers.” Dawn Godfrey, Strategic Director Children and Families at Rutland County Council

“Caring for vulnerable adults and children is the most important thing we do as a Council. Families need to know that we provide the best possible care and support in times of struggle. Children need to be protected, given a voice and made to feel safe. This is a very positive Ofsted review which will help to guide even greater improvement within our Children’s Services, for the benefit of people in Rutland.” Mark Andrews, Chief Executive of Rutland County Council

The full Ofsted letter detailing feedback from its January 2022 review of Rutland’s Children’s Services can be viewed online at: reports.ofsted.gov.uk

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