Ofsted finds progress at children's trust previously rated 'inadequate'

By Neil Puffett

| 02 December 2016

Services for children and families are improving at a government-ordered independent trust, Ofsted has said, less than a year after provision was rated "inadequate".

Ofsted said there had been progress made by Slough Children's Services Trust during its first year of operation. Picture: Phil Adams

A monitoring visit of Slough Children's Services Trust concluded that, in its first year, the trust has improved the effectiveness of contact and referral services and strengthened the operational response to child sexual exploitation.

"The council and the trust have agreed that safeguarding of vulnerable children is a firm priority and, together, they have stepped up the pace of improvement in these areas," a letter outlining the findings states.

However, the letter adds that much work remains to be done to ensure that children are consistently helped and protected.

Inspectors said that since the last inspection took place in February, when services were rated "inadequate", a comprehensive multi-agency threshold document has been published which is being effectively applied at the "front door" to child protection services.

Meanwhile, a recently established multi-agency safeguarding children hub was found to provide a timely, considered and proportionate response to children.

"When children are at risk of immediate harm, social workers within the urgent response hub act quickly and decisively to protect them," the letter states.

However, there were concerns that child protection enquiries and assessments do not always include information about all members of the household, particularly information from GPs.

The letter states that, as a result, some children have been left without the right support or at risk of potential harm.

Nicola Clemo, chief executive of Slough Children's Services Trust, said: "We are delighted with the Ofsted findings and recognition of the hard work all staff have put in to improve children's services in Slough.

"We are pleased that Slough Borough Council has been praised too, as we've come a long way in establishing good and effective working relationships, as we share a joint responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of all children in Slough.

"We will take all of Ofsted's comments on board and, alongside the plans we already have in place to address all the areas of improvement from the last full Ofsted inspection, we will carry on with our plans to move children's services from a starting position of inadequate to 'outstanding' within five years." 

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