Independent inspectors say children’s services are ‘outstanding’

Rob Waltham
Rob Waltham

Independent inspectors Ofsted have awarded North Lincolnshire Council the highest accolade of ‘outstanding’ for services for children in need of help and protection and looked after children – judging it as overall outstanding our excellent services and enables us to go from strength to strength. This is a fantastic outcome, but we mustn’t be complacent and will continue to be the best.”

Ofsted inspectors highly praised the work of the council; the report stated that ‘North Lincolnshire Council has impressively sustained good and outstanding services for children and families since the last Ofsted inspection in 2012.’ ‘Its focus on keeping children and young people at the heart of everything is the most striking element of this outstanding local authority.’

Ofsted inspected services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers. It also reviewed the effectiveness of the North Lincolnshire Local Safeguarding Children Board. The inspection took place 20 June to 13 July 2017.

Below, the three main areas Ofsted looked at and their findings:

Services to Children – overall judgement Outstanding

Children who need help and protection Good

Children looked after and achieving permanence Outstanding

Adoption performance Outstanding

Experiences and progress of care leavers Outstanding

Leadership, management and governance Outstanding

Local Safeguarding Children’s Board Outstanding

Other key findings include:

Effective direct work undertaken by a well-trained and stable workforce ensures that children are engaged fully and this leads to measurably improved outcomes.

Highly effective and principled leadership clearly models and articulates ambition for children in North Lincolnshire

Very effective and coordinated partnership working at both a strategic and operational level.

Continually exceptional leadership for children’s services

The voice and views of children and young people are effectively sought and considered

The local authority is hugely ambitious and aspirational for care leavers and their views are central to development

Ofsted will publish the report at 9.30am on Monday 4 September 2017.

Councillor Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said: “To be one of only a few councils in England to achieve outstanding is incredible. We make children our business; they are at the heart of what we do and our number one priority. We are absolutely committed to ensuring they achieve the very best and at the same time are safe, protected and supported. We invest heavily to give them the best chance in life from excellent foster carers and adopters who make a real difference to our children in care. We have excellent early years’ provision, from new play areas and free swimming to new school buildings, education and learning and outstanding services to our most vulnerable children. We should give all children the chance and support to reach their full potential in life. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from, we treat everyone the same.”

Denise Hyde, Head of Paid Service and Executive Director, People and Transformation at North Lincolnshire Council said: “We are very pleased that North Lincolnshire Council is recognised nationally as among the very best. We strive to provide the best services to enable people to live independently, with their families and their communities. Everyone has worked really hard and deserves recognition for their contribution to helping to keep our children safe and ensuring they achieve well. It is not just the council working together as one team, but the council working collectively with its partners to achieve outstanding results. Well done to everyone involved.”

Mick Gibbs, Director of Children and Community Resilience at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “In North Lincolnshire, we work together with partner agencies – police, health, education and with foster carers, adopters and others to improve outcomes for children: to keep them safe, well and help them reach their potential. We have placed the child at the heart of what we do and listen to their voice. I am pleased with the judgement which reflects positively upon a staff team who are motivated to deliver best practice.”

Cllr David Rose, cabinet member for children, learning and families at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Besides the excellent work we do to support children, we also support families too, who need that extra bit of help. We take children and young people’s views seriously and look for ways to involve them in key decisions, for example, through the excellent work of the Youth and children in Care Council. Our children are keen to work with us to improve services and we listen. I think the mix of the council working effectively with other agencies through the children and young people’s partnership and the additional oversight the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board has given us, builds on our excellent services and enables us to go from strength to strength. This is a fantastic outcome, but we mustn’t be complacent and will continue to be the best.”

Edwina Harrison, Independent Chair of the North Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “The work of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board is second to none. It does everything and more that a safeguarding board should, and most importantly it puts children at the centre of everything that we do. It is paramount that we all work together effectively to improve children’s lives and this is done in a number of ways which are described by Ofsted. I am delighted that our work has been recognised as it reflects the longstanding commitment to children involving years of hard work with full contribution from all partners. This demonstrates the confidence Ofsted has in what we do. We will continue the good work to ensure every child and young person is safe and protected.”