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Council reassured by Ofsted report highlighting improvements to children’s services

Children and families

25 November 2022

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has welcomed and is reassured by today’s Ofsted report which shows significant improvements to services that protect and support children across the area.

In the findings published today, Ofsted has rated the local authority’s children’s services as ‘Requires Improvement to be Good’, having previously been judged as ‘Inadequate’ since 2019.

Inspectors have highlighted the good work of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT), which was established in 2020 against the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic and creation of the two new unitary councils, recognising a number of achievements including strengthening early help support, reducing caseloads, stabilising the workforce and embedding a more positive culture.

They also highlighted that when children were at risk of very serious harm, social workers acted quickly to make sure they were as safe as possible and social workers completed assessments so that they could plan the best ways to help children and families. Social workers were also praised for finding the right families for most children who cannot live with their own families, and that they are well cared for.

The report also recognised that more improvements were still required to make the service good and there had been insufficient progress and slow change in some areas, but that leaders knew what needed to be done and had comprehensive plans in place.

Councillor Fiona Baker, for Children Families, Education and Skills at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “I am really pleased and encouraged by Ofsted’s findings, which recognise and acknowledge the hard work of all staff and partners in striving to improve our children’s services on what has been a long and challenging journey.

"We know there is still more work do and so we will not be resting on our laurels, but this new rating shows how far we have come and the report provides us with renewed focus on what further improvements need to be made."

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, added: "While we still have work to do, Ofsted have validated the improvements we’ve seen in protecting our children and championing the best outcomes for them and their families.

"This rating and the Ofsted findings shows that we are moving in a positive direction and provides a solid foundation to build on and is a great testament to the work of our social care workforce, the trust leadership, our network of wonderful carers and of course the voice of our looked after children in helping us do better."

Julian Wooster, Chair of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT) said: “I’m delighted that Ofsted have recognised the significant improvements that have been made to children’s services in Northamptonshire.  Northamptonshire Children’s Trust has been on a substantial journey of improvement and that doesn’t stop here.  We will continue to strive to deliver the best possible services for children, young people and families in the county, keeping them at the heart of all we do.  

“I was pleased that the inspectors noted the change in culture to one of high support and kindness and also remarked on the strong stable leadership team that we have in place to support the workforce. We know that social work is a very challenging role, but with the right culture and leadership in place it can be a really rewarding role which is why I would encourage the best and brightest social workers to come and join us."

The predecessor authority, Northamptonshire County Council delegated its children’s social care statutory functions and transferred the provision of children’s social care services to Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT) on 1 November 2020.

The trust now delivers children’s social care and targeted early help services on behalf of West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire councils.

The letter to West Northamptonshire Council is now available to view in full on the Ofsted website.

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