Ofsted’s praise for Cornwall Council’s children’s services

The education watchdog Ofsted has praised Cornwall Council for the improvements it has made to children’s services amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ofsted inspectors carried out a review of the council’s children’s services and looked at the experiences of children in care, how the best living arrangements are made for them, and the quality of social work and management.

The latest inspection, published in a report on February 22, 2022, found that the local authority has maintained a high standard of work in identifying permanent homes for children who need them.

The report said the council was able to prioritise services for children in care, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and inspectors noted that improvements had been made since the last inspection in October 2019 when children’s social care services were rated ‘outstanding’ overall.

Inspectors also found:

  • Capable and committed social workers with a depth of skills and experience
  • A culture where senior leaders have a strong and ongoing focus on improving outcomes for children who need a permanent home
  • A wide range of support giving children the maximum opportunity to remain with their families where it is safe to do so or to return home from care
  • That children’s views are sought and listened to
  • That careful planning was enabling children to be matched to prospective adopters who are well placed to meet their needs

The report said that social workers were ‘capable and committed’ and told inspectors that they felt ‘well supported’ by their managers and senior leaders and enjoyed working in Cornwall.

“They are ambitious for their children’s futures and demonstrate a breadth and depth of skill and experience. These are qualities that are reflected in the positive outcomes that are being achieved for children in Cornwall,” it added.

Councillor Barbara Ellenbroek, portfolio holder for Children and Families, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have continued to make improvements to the support we provide to children and families across Cornwall, and I’m so pleased that Ofsted has recognised this.

“The inspectors’ visit looked at a specific part of children’s social care, but we firmly believe their findings reflect the improvements we have been making across the board.

“I would like to thank all the staff teams for their hard work and passion. We remain committed to making Cornwall the best place it can be for children and young people to live, learn and grow up.

“We know the work doesn’t stop here though. We are continuing to improve our children’s services and we welcome the recommendations Ofsted has made to further strengthen our approach.”

Inspectors visited Cornwall between January 18-19, 2022, and looked at the council’s arrangements for finding permanent homes for children and the support that’s provided.

Maintaining high quality children’s services is one of Cornwall Council’s priorities, which is designed to help make Cornwall a brilliant place to be a child and grow up.

The full report is available to read on Ofsted's website.

Published on February 22, 2022

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