To consider a presentation providing context around key areas of inspection findings, linking to public inspection report, and including the draft action plan to be submitted to OFSTED.
The Joint Assistant Director, CYPS introduced the report highlighting that an inspection had been carried out in June and the authority had to publish its action plan in response to the recommendations made from the inspection outcome.
The inspection covered how the Council helped and protected children, the experiences and progress of children in care, its arrangements for permanence for children who were looked after, including adoption along with the experiences and progress of care leavers. Ofsted also evaluated the effectiveness of the Council’s leaders and managers as well and the impact that they had on the lives of children and young people.
Ofsted found the following:
The report contained lots of positive references however some areas for improvement were identified. Children’s Services were striving to become outstanding, so all comments were welcomed.
The four areas identified within the action plan were the four areas in which Ofsted made their recommendations. They also provided lots of advice that would help the service move towards outstanding.
Ofsted indicated that services had continued to be delivered effectively during the pandemic. The new Director of Service and strengthening of the management had helped drive the continuous improvements forward.
The first area where improvement could be made was ‘Consideration of previous history and current circumstances when responding to ‘front door’ contacts and child protection concerns.’ For context, Ofsted identified a very small number of contacts that had come into children’s services where no further action had been taken where it was felt that the history wasn’t recorded within that contact as being fully considered to inform decision making. This was where children had previously been contacted and Ofsted identified no concerns or safeguarding risks, but it was felt that the way it was recorded didn’t evidence that the service had taken into consideration and analysed previous contacts.
Action number two was regarding the ‘Assessment of the identity needs of children when planning for their future.’ Ofsted specifically considered the unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and some care leavers within that recommendation. Ofsted that whilst every individual child’s experience was recognised that for some children with particular cultural needs or experiences that may have influenced their identity, that this hadn’t been recorded within the assessment as robustly as it could have been.
The third action was regarding ‘The level of ambition for individual care leavers, the support for them to achieve their aspirations and the detailing of this in pathway plans.’ During the inspection the services ambition for all children in Rotherham was acknowledged however it was regarding how it was described within the pathway plans along with the level of ambition included and needed to include their ultimate ambition and their aspirations.
The final action was around ‘the quality of individual case audits to inform wider service learning.’ Ofsted indicated that the services quality assurance was very robust, however they couldn’t see how the information was used to inform wider service planning.
It was noted that some of the actions were listed as ‘in progress and on track’ but the deadline for completion had now passed. Could the reason for this be clarified? The reason for this was that the copy of the action plan had been submitted to Ofsted for consideration however it had not been assessed but it was being chased. A copy of the updated action plan could be provided to Members once approved by Ofsted.
During discussions the following was noted:
· It was clarified that the action plan would remain a live document for as long as needed.
· It was confirmed that all identify issues were considered and would be reflected across all cohorts of children and young people.
· In response to a query around the term ‘pushy parent’, it was clarified that this term was used regarding pushing services to do their best along with the children to active their best.
· Ofsted had provided positive comments on the Early Help Service and the way that it seamlessly worked with Children’s Social Care.
· In response to a query regarding ‘dip sampling’ it was confirmed that the service did look at random cases however the recommendation mentioned in section 2.9 was in relation to supervision audits.
Resolved That: The Improving Lives Select Commission:
1. Noted the outcome of inspection and note the draft action plan.
2. Agreed that a briefing note be provided, within an agreed timeframe detailing how actions were re-visited to determine the impact of the actions carried out.
3. Agreed that an update would be provided in September 2023 on all the expected outcomes from the Ofsted Inspection Action Plan.
4. That a copy of the updated action plan is circulated to Members of the Improving Lives Selection Commission upon acceptance by Ofsted.