Ofsted has published findings of a monitoring visit into children’s social care in Hull, focusing on the services and support provided to young people who have experienced care.
Ofsted inspectors reported positively about the strategic and individual plans that in place for care experienced young people, that young people are well engaged in developing plans, and that services welcome, and benefit from, young people’s feedback. Ofsted reported that children’s services work well with other services within the council and across the partnership, to make sure services are in place to meet care experienced young people’s needs. Ofsted positively noted the range of accommodation options available to young people as they move into independent living, as well as specialist access to mental health services.
This monitoring visit follows on from two previous monitoring visits into children in care and children’s social care, which also reported significant improvements in services for children and families in Hull.
Pauline Turner, Director of Children’s Services said: “I am delighted that this is the third consecutive Ofsted monitoring visit that has shown real, positive improvements in how we support children, young people and their families in Hull.
“The changes and improvements have been huge, across the whole of children’s services, wider council services and how we work with our partners. We have all been on a journey, from elected members and senior leadership, to social workers and support staff, to make sure the services we deliver are the best they can be for our children and families.
“I’m very hopeful that when we receive our full inspection of children’s services that the overall judgement will improve.”
A full inspection of Children, Young People and Family Services took place in January 2019, where the service was assessed as Inadequate. Since then, the improvement journey of children’s services has been a top priority for the council.
Councillor Shane McMurray, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: “The council is absolutely committed to young people, and it shows in our spending record but, most importantly, it shows in the positive feedback we get from the young people we support and their outcomes. We are now working with more care leavers than ever and our ambition is to see every one supported into a good home, a good job and have firm foundations to help them achieve their ambitions for the future.
“We have committed staff who work with our care experienced young people and our young people trust their workers. Our journey of substantially improving our services is all down to their hard work, perseverance and commitment. The entire organisation values our care experienced young people and works together to improve their life chances. It’s been a key priority for us to improve this area, and we now have clear evidence that we are succeeding from our young people themselves and from Ofsted.”
The Ofsted monitoring visit reported that:
Skilled leaving care workers are providing greatly improved support to care leavers in Hull. A stable and determined leadership team, supported by deeply invested and committed elected members has established a tenacious corporate parenting partnership. As a result, care leavers are provided with improved high quality and targeted multi-agency support. A much-improved interface by senior leaders with care leavers means that their voice is beginning to influence service delivery.
Elected members’ challenge and scrutiny has driven purposeful performance management oversight by managers. The chief executive and lead member hold the leadership team to account for the quality of practice to care leavers.
A stable and permanent senior leadership team is continuing to drive progress for care leavers. Corporate parenting has become everybody’s business through ambitious local authority and political leadership.
Staff feel extremely well supported because of the reinvigorated culture that has been created by senior leaders and effective team managers. They feel that the leaving care team is much more part of the wider service since the time of the last inspection. They are proud to work for Hull and feel supported by senior leaders to do the best that they can for care leavers.
Since the inspection in 2019, senior leaders have developed greatly improved partnerships resulting in enhanced accommodation options for care leavers. An increased number of organisations provide supported accommodation and the council’s housing department assist care leavers to achieve their own accommodation.
Leaving care workers know their care leavers exceptionally well and care leavers experience meaningful relationships with their workers.
Workers are persistent at keeping in touch and visit care leavers frequently.
Care leavers are provided with a detailed understanding of the newly agreed local offer which contains priority areas of support that has been developed with them.
Meaningful direct work provides improved practical, emotional and financial support. Care leavers also benefit from a drop-in service so that they can see their worker when needed.
Pathway plans are written for care leavers and capture their ambitions for the future across all areas of their lives.
Care leavers and staff benefit from the recently commissioned, effective complex, emotional needs service. Significantly improved access to timely, flexible, and individualised assessments, delivers swift support to improving care leavers mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Since the last inspection the local authority have focused heavily on participation and engagement with children, young people and care leavers. Consequently, senior leaders have an enhanced understanding of care leavers’ experiences, and their voice is beginning to influence and inform service delivery.
There are more frequent opportunities to applaud the achievements of care leavers. Events take place to celebrate with them. Care leavers provide feedback that they feel extremely well supported by their leaving care workers. They benefit from an abundance of activities organised and facilitated by workers from ‘room 42’, which provides them with an opportunity to meet other care leavers.
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