Children's services fourth monitoring visit letter is published today

Ofsted has published the findings from their latest monitoring visit to Herefordshire’s Children's Services.

The monitoring visit is the fourth in the last 10 months and focused on older young people in care aged 16 and 17 and care leavers aged 18 to 25.

Inspectors undertook the monitoring visit on 21 and 22 February 2024, as part of a series of visits put in place following the service being judged inadequate in July 2022. The letter to Herefordshire Council was published today.

Inspectors said some improvements have been made across the service but that the pace of change needs to improve and that the quality of service remains inconsistent.

The published letter states that older children in care and care leavers are encouraged to enjoy a range of activities through the care leavers’ offer, which is described as comprehensive. Many of them live in stable accommodation which meets their needs and some young people benefit from successful supported arrangements with families in the local area. It was also noted that Personal Advisors work sensitively with care leavers who are parents with children of their own.

Personal Advisors and Social Workers told inspectors they feel valued, well supported and are very positive about the improvements being implemented with their workloads becoming more manageable and capacity in the service being increased.

Inspectors said that the improvements have not yet led to sufficient positive impact however, with too many older children having experienced a change in social worker and some older children in care and care leavers with complex needs not being sufficiently prioritised, including by key agencies. 

Councillor Ivan Powell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“This is the fourth Ofsted monitoring visit which again recognises some developments in the service, but reinforces that there is still much to do and we must work at increased pace to improve the quality of services and improve outcomes for our children and young people. 

“We recognise that we need the support of our partners to build a stronger network for all of our children and young people, and particularly for those with complex needs.

“The council’s single biggest priority is to build a service which continues to improve with ambition to become outstanding.

“We are committed to providing services for children and families which are supportive and they have confidence in, and that the whole county can be proud of.”

You can view a full copy of the Ofsted report here.

Published: 27th March 2024