Services to protect and support children in Nottingham have been rated ‘good’ following an inspection by Ofsted.
Children’s teams at Nottingham City Council were praised for creative ways of working that make a positive difference to children and families. Strong leadership and a clear vision have successfully created an environment where social work can flourish and where children receive good help, care and protection.
Inspectors particularly praised work to create a single, combined workforce of children’s staff and social workers under the banner of Children’s Integrated Services, to ensure a more joined-up approach to working with children and families.
The report followed an Ofsted inspection at the council from 23 January to 3 February 2017 – a new type of inspection that was trialled by Ofsted in Nottingham.
Inspectors judged the City Council was ‘good’ for:
• The impact of leaders on practice with children and families
• The experience and progress of children who need help and protection
• Overall effectiveness
However, inspectors said improvement was still needed in the experiences and progress of children in care and care-leavers.
The report stated: “Children’s services in Nottingham City have strong political and corporate support. This ensures that children’s needs are prioritised. The chief executive, the director of children’s services and the lead member for children’s services have a clear vision that has resulted in an effective plan to improve services for children and families.
“Leaders in the local authority have successfully created an environment where social work practice can flourish. This is seen in the creative ways of working that are making a positive difference to children and families. The catalyst for this change was the creation of one children’s integrated services directorate and the establishment of a permanent and stable senior leadership team.”
The ‘good’ judgment follows an inspection of the city council’s children’s services by Ofsted in March 2014 that found all areas required improvement. Social care services were found to have made significant progress in the last three years.
The report added: “The local authority has successfully created an environment where social work practice can flourish. Clear and unambiguous decision-making by team managers, supported by effective supervision for social workers, supports safe social work practice, a strong management grip and a culture of learning. This helps social workers to have a calm approach to practice.
“Social workers and family support workers complete purposeful work with children and their families that is leading to improved outcomes in many aspects of their lives. Social workers are used to working directly with children and families as part of their day-to-day practice and carry this out with great sensitivity.”
Commenting on the report, Alison Michalska, Corporate Director for Children’s Services at the city council, said: “Keeping children safe and happy is our top priority – and I’m pleased that Ofsted has recognised the huge improvements we have made in Nottingham City since the last inspection in 2014.
“Inspectors were clear that our workers complete meaningful work with children and their families, which leads to improved outcomes in all areas of their life. Throughout the inspection process inspectors credited the passion, enthusiasm and positivity of our staff.
“We know there are some areas that need to improve further and work will take place going forward to address the areas for development that Ofsted has highlighted to us.”
Cllr David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, added: “Nottingham City Council is committed to driving up standards for our children and young people and it is good to see that so much progress has been made by our teams. I see daily examples of how our dedicated workforce is striving to ensure that children can grow up in an environment where they are safe and protected.
“I’m confident that we can build on this report and ensure that every aspect of services to children can be judged good or better by Ofsted.”