Released: 9 May 2022
The experience of children in care across West Sussex has improved significantly and continues to make steady progress, according to the latest Ofsted report.
On 30 and 31 March 2022, Ofsted carried out its fifth monitoring visit to West Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services since a full inspection in May 2019 rated it inadequate.
The positive inspection follows the recent Government announcement that Children’s Services will remain under the Council’s control instead of being placed into an independent trust.
The monitoring visit focused on the quality and effectiveness of support children and young people in West Sussex receive and the impact of managers and capacity and caseloads of social workers.
The key findings from the report were:
• The experience of children in care has significantly improved
• The voice of children and young people is heard and responded to
• Performance reporting is thorough
• Reviews of arrangements for children and young people has improved and is being sustained
• A more stable and permanent workforce is in place
• There is a visible change in the culture of the organisation
• The virtual school is having a positive impact on children and young people in relation to their education and wellbeing
• Political and corporate support, including investment, is supporting practice improvement
• There is more work needed to improve health assessments for children, placements for children that are not regulated, and audits
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It is very encouraging that Ofsted has recognised the many improvements we are making for the children and young people we care for, many of whom are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and the impact this is having across our service.
“The report identifies that we need to do further work to improve the consistency around some of our practices. This is an area which our teams are already addressing as part of our Children’s First Improvement Plan, which is a key part of our Council Plan.
“I would like to extend my thanks to staff across the Council’s Children’s Services, who continue to work tirelessly to bring about the necessary changes as we work to provide the best service to our children, young people and their families."