Ofsted inspection of Nottingham City Council’s Children’s Services
An Ofsted inspection of Nottingham City Council’s Children’s Services was carried out in July 2022. The inspection found that more work is needed to ensure children and young people get the right care and support at the right time, while also acknowledging the strengths.
Regular inspections are carried out by Ofsted at all councils that provide support and care for children who are vulnerable or at risk.
Nottingham’s inspection took place from 4-22 July. The full report, published on 5 September, identified some key areas for improvement:
- A quicker response when children are first identified as being at-risk
- More social workers to support children and young people
- More places for children who need to come into care
- Greater support for people aged over 21 who leave care
- More help for young people aged 16 and 17 who are homeless
- Better monitoring of children who are absent from school
Ofsted judged the council’s Children’s Services to be ‘Inadequate’. This is a lower rating than the previous ‘Requires Improvement’ judgment in 2019.
An action plan to address the areas for improvement is now being drawn up by the council.
Improvement is under way
Although more work is needed, the inspectors acknowledged that improvements had already been made in Children’s Services. In particular, they found:
- Children are well-supported once they are allocated a social worker. Strong relationships are formed between the social worker and the families they help
- A clear process is in place to intervene when a child’s circumstances are not improving
- Children are matched for adoption much more quickly and siblings are often adopted together
- Foster carers provide consistent, good quality care
- The emotional and mental health needs of children are being met
- Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are well supported
- The service works well with partners to provide the best outcomes for children and young people
During the visit, Inspectors noted that City Councillors and the Chief Executive remain committed to improving the quality of Children’s Services, despite the financial challenges being faced by the local authority.
Please be assured that everyone in our Children’s Services team is committed to providing the best possible care in our city – and will do whatever it takes to improve. Our children and young people deserve nothing less.
In particular, it is encouraging that Ofsted acknowledged the improvements we have made – as well as the strong relationships our social workers build with children and young people who need our help and support.
While these improvements will provide a firm foundation from which to build, consistency is important in all parts of the service.
As a council, we accept the findings of the report and are committed to improving – and will work with all concerned to continue to keep our children safe.
The City Council will have a series of Ofsted monitoring visits, followed by a full re-inspection. Between four and six monitoring visits are likely to be carried out over the next 18 months with the first one likely to take place late winter 2022 / early spring 2023. The focus of the visits will be upon areas where improvement is most needed, but inspectors will also check that performance in other areas has not deteriorated.
Progress against the Children’s Services improvement plan is monitored and overseen by the Children at the Heart Improvement Board. This will be led by an Independent Chair commissioned by the Department for Education to ensure robust challenge of improvement plan.
Click here to read the full Ofsted Report into our Children’s Services