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Ofsted inspection of Rutland Children's Services

Date Published: 13 February 2017
Children's Services

Rutland’s children’s services were inspected by Ofsted from 15th November to 8th December 2016 under the Single Inspection Framework.

In a final report published today (13th February 2017), Ofsted has concluded that a number of improvements are required before children’s services in Rutland can be rated as ‘Good’.

“Caring for those who need help and protection is the most important thing we do and we’re pleased that, among the areas where the Council is performing well, Ofsted has found that no children in Rutland are at immediate risk of harm and that our staff work quickly to keep children safe when concerns are raised.These inspections are extremely thorough for a very good reason and we welcome the feedback we’ve received from inspectors. It’s clear from their report that, while the Council is making significant progress, there are a number of areas where we need to improve before our children’s services can be rated as ‘Good’. In many cases we’re already working hard to address the points that have been raised, with staff, managers and councillors determined to achieve the best possible outcomes for children in Rutland.”
Councillor Richard Foster, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People

Ofsted’s inspection of Rutland’s children’s services identified the following strengths:

  • Services for children who leave care in Rutland are good
  • Staff act quickly to keep children safe when people tell them that they are worried about a child
  • When children and families have emerging problems, Rutland’s early help services provide a wide range of responsive interventions, preventing some families from needing more formal, statutory involvement with children’s social care
  • The early help service uses positive ways of working with families to intervene and support children effectively
  • Social workers know about children’s lives and families get the right help and support when they are having difficulties
  • Social workers, teachers, police officers, foster carers and others work well together to keep children safe if they are at risk of sexual exploitation
  • The right decisions are made by social workers when children cannot live at home
  • Social workers place children with people who can look after them well and help them to do well in education and enjoy hobbies.
  • When children can no longer live at home, social workers work hard to find the right families
  • Social workers and other professionals work well together to look at plans to help improve children’s lives
  • Young people leaving care receive a good service from staff who know them well
  • Staff keep in touch and support care leavers to live independently, stay in education or find a job. They also help them to keep healthy and find somewhere to live where they feel safe
  • Managers and Council leaders are determined to employ the ‘right’ staff to provide good services and new social workers and managers are making improvements
  • Managers and leaders want to improve services further

Ofsted has provided clear feedback about where improvements to Rutland’s children’s services should be made and produced a series of recommendations which the Council is working to implement. They include:

  • Ensure senior leaders have access to comprehensive, high quality performance management information in order to understand frontline practice
  • Ensure assessments and plans actively consider all risks to children, including emerging and new risks as circumstances for children change
  • Improve the quality of assessments and plans across the service by ensuring that they are informed by children’s wishes and feelings
  • Increase the effectiveness of management oversight across the service, ensuring that the rationale for decisions and actions set is clear
  • Improve the effectiveness of out of hour’s services by recording all contacts received and by recording events on children’s files

“Ofsted have pointed out that, while there are many areas where children’s services are performing well, we are not yet consistent enough in our approach to be considered good. However, many of the recommendations put forward relate to areas where we’re already taking positive and decisive steps. A new case management system is in place to improve the quality of information we record for monitoring and assessment purposes, while we’ve seen significant improvement in management and quality of practice after filling key posts with permanent staff. Where we can make further improvements we will do this as a priority.”
Councillor Richard Foster

The inspection of Rutland’s Children’s Services coincided with a review that looked at the effectiveness of the Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board (LRLSCB), which has subsequently been rated ‘Good’.

A copy of Ofsted's final inspection report can be read in full on the Ofsted website.

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