Council improving services for its care leavers

Published Tuesday, 13th June 2017
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Ofsted

Rotherham Council is making progress in improving services for its care leavers, inspectors have found.

Inspectors praised the work being undertaken following a third monitoring visit by Ofsted since the Council’s children’s services were put in special measures two years ago.

This builds on the good work the service is now doing, which was also singled out for praise in previous reports.

In particular inspectors praised the work being done to ensure young people were quickly being identified of being at risk of sexual exploitation.

Inspectors said the Council’s delivery against its own improvement plan was showing improvements to services for care leavers.

These include increasing the number of care leavers that the Council is in touch with; working with its young people to improve the quality and range of decisions for care leavers and they said there was “a clear focus” on engaging young people in education, employment and training.

They also praised the fact the service has successfully started to support its first three care leavers in apprenticeships with the Council.

Councillor Gordon Watson, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s services at Rotherham Council said: “This confirms the progress the Council is making in improving outcomes for children and young people. With young people well supported in good accommodation, with a significantly higher than average number in education, training and employment, our care leavers are now better placed to make a successful transition into adulthood.

"Whilst inevitably at this stage in our journey there are areas requiring improvement, the many strengths identified in this letter, reflect how seriously we take our responsibilities as corporate parents.

“We are now halfway through our five year programme of transformation and I look forward to seeing more evidence of continuous improvement.”

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director for Children and Young People’s services at Rotherham Council added: “The letter builds on previous, more recent Ofsted findings of a ‘positive organisational culture in Rotherham’, with strong recruitment and retention resulting in a more stable team of staff who feel supported and valued in their roles. It is particularly pleasing that inspectors found no young people at risk of harm or unassessed sexual exploitation, with evidence of good work emerging.

We are striving for excellence here in Rotherham and are already working on all areas identified by Ofsted for further improvement.

“The letter supports our assessment, as affirmed by our practice partners Lincolnshire, that there are no longer widespread systemic failures for care leavers in Rotherham and we are making positive strides towards delivering consistently good outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable young people.”

Areas which inspectors said needed improving included services being impacted by some weaknesses still in children’s services, which included looked after children’s teams.

This has included high turnover of social care staff making it difficult for young people to build up relationships with key workers. They also identified a need for more training in some areas to help social workers have a greater understanding of individual care leavers’ needs.

The Council has already identified these issues and improvement is underway as a result, including introducing a very successful recruitment and retention scheme for social workers, which is now leading towards a more stable and permanent work force.

It has also recently introduced a number of training initiatives which are now being rolled out to all early help and social care staff to improve practice quality. These include the internationally recognised Signs of Safety operating model, Restorative Practice and Family Group Conferencing.

To see the full letter please visit:

Go to Ofsted's website