Worcestershire County Council will have its Statutory Direction from the Department of Education removed.
In a letter, Will Quince MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families said that “elected members, senior leaders, partners and staff at all levels in Worcestershire had demonstrated a commitment to achieving the improvements” and states removal of the direction comes as a result of the “significant improvement since Ofsted’s 2016 inspection, as evidenced in the 2019 inspection and recent focussed visits, as well as the comprehensive quarterly reports provided”
Ofsted’s 2019 report highlighted examples of strong practice across the service, including a strengthened front door MASH and an improved children in need and child protection practices.
In Ofsted’s latest focussed inspection Inspectors reported headline findings that “The local authority has made strong progress in improving the quality of practice for children and families in receipt of services at its ‘Family Front Door’ since the inspection in June 2019.
Tina Russell, who holds the combined role as Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First and WCC Director of Childrens Services said, “We are delighted with the decision to remove the statutory direction. As Minister Quinces letter acknowledges, there are significant challenges in delivering high quality and effective children’s social care services, especially over the recent COVID-19 response period and I am continually impressed, proud and grateful to all our staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable children and families now have access to an improved quality of service”
“As a dedicated Children’s Services company we will work through our business plans and use our quality assurance work to continue to learn and develop, understanding ourselves and the difference we are making to the lives of children and young people”.
Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member with responsibility children and families said, “This is a brilliant key milestone for Worcestershire County Council. It’s great to see that the significant progress made by Worcestershire Children First in safeguarding and the services for vulnerable children in the county, has been recognised by the Department for Education.”