Sheffield City Council has been awarded an overall ‘good’ rating by Ofsted following a three-week inspection of its children’s services.
The council were commended for putting children at the centre of practice, with children and young people across the city benefiting from child focused staff and services.
Inspectors reported that the views of children and young people are valued at all levels, and the local authority has created an environment in which good social work is nurtured and celebrated.
The council’s children’s services were described as having a skilled and confident workforce, and credit was given to corporate parenting for being highly effective and emulating what good parenting should look like.
Although the report raised that some services ‘require improvement to be good’, inspectors also highlighted that senior officers were aware of these issues prior to the inspection, that they have effective action plans in place, and are working on all the areas which need improvement.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families and Lead Member for Children’s Services at Sheffield City Council, said:
“It was great to read that the Ofsted inspectors recognised, and their report highlighted, some of the tremendous work taking place throughout Sheffield’s children’s social care services and told us that children’s services in Sheffield are ‘good’.
“The inspectors reported that despite ten years of austerity and cuts to the council’s budget, Sheffield has made steady progress since the last inspection in 2013. We have achieved this by working through our comprehensive improvement plan that has children and young people at the centre of practice. The council has secured significant additional corporate investment, we have excellent support from senior management and leaders across all areas of the council and partner organisations and as a result, the local authority delivers highly effective corporate parenting ‘that emulates what a good parent should be’.
“A highlight for me was reading that ‘the local authority’s sense of corporate responsibility for children in care and care leavers is unambiguous’ and ‘we provide proactive and committed parenting’ – these are such powerful words and represent just how dedicated the local authority is to supporting children, young people and families in Sheffield.
“The report also recognises that we still have some areas that require improvement, which we identified in our self-assessment prior to the Ofsted inspectors visit. We have action plans in place to address these points; we are not complacent and we will work hard to improve our services.
“I’ve no doubt that this is a fantastic achievement and my thanks go to the brilliant, dedicated staff in children’s services, all council staff, foster carers, adopters, our agency partners, the community sector, Councillors and all corporate parents who work so hard to ensure our children and young people and their families are safe, happy, secure, and achieve their full potential.
“Our aim is to continue to improve the services we provide and reach ‘outstanding’ and I truly believe that by working together we will achieve this in the future.”
Carly Speechley, Director for Children’s Services at Sheffield City Council said:
“I’m really pleased with the report received from Ofsted – there are some fantastic comments from the inspectors that I am especially proud of, and I give credit to staff where it is due as they work really hard every day to deliver a good service to children across the city.
“We are fully on board with the areas highlighted for improvement, having already started work on action plans, prior to Ofsted’s inspection. We have made steady progress since our last inspection in 2013, where we have delivered a structured and impactful improvement plan. We are not complacent, and we will continue to work towards improving on those areas identified in the report.
“Children really are at the centre of what we do, and the report highlights how we have made a substantial commitment to make sure children receive the right help at the right time. We have also made a strong commitment to investing in the workforce which has had an impact on delivering our services.
“Inspectors reported how the local authority had ‘worked tenaciously to ensure an increasingly stable, capable and skilled social care workforce and as a result, staff like working for Sheffield City Council’ – this is fantastic to read.
“We have received excellent feedback that we can build on to provide even better services for everyone in the city, we are always getting better and that’s because we are absolutely dedicated to supporting children, young people and their families in Sheffield.”
The full report is available at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80551