Release date: 4 December 2020
A report into how children’s services are delivered by West Sussex County Council has been published by Ofsted today.
The report highlights positive progress on how social workers support families, the recent improvements that have been put in place following the recommendations of the last inspection in February 2019, and higher than national average school attendance.
It also highlighted improvements in partnership working and in how the wider organisation supports children’s services. The visit, which focused on the service’s response to COVID-19, said vulnerable children received the targeted help they needed during the pandemic and that children’s needs were well supported.
In the report Ofsted was clear that the foundations for improvement have been put in place, and did not identify any new priority actions, something the regulator does when there are urgent problems to be addressed. Ofsted identified areas where social work practice was still inconsistent and required further development. The report confirms that the County Council understood the areas needing rapid improvement and were already addressing them as a priority.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are grateful to the inspection team for the time they spent reviewing the work our teams have been doing to improve our services. Putting children first is at the heart of what we do, and ensuring we provide the best service to our most vulnerable children and young people is critical.
“I am grateful too for the report’s findings on areas that require further improvement and work is ongoing to address these as part of our continuous development plan. Whilst we cannot underestimate the significant amount of work which still needs to be done to improve our services, and the financial challenges we face as a local authority, the report highlighted that we know our service well, and with our permanent senior leadership team and the continuing hard work of our staff, our improvement partner and others we work closely with, we are in a position to move forward and accelerate the pace of our improvement work.”