Inspectors praise trailblazing children's services department

By Neil Puffett

| 06 June 2018

A council selected by government to lead the way for others on the future of children's services has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for its "ambition to improve" and an extensive transformation programme.

The last full inspection of children's services in North Tyneside rated provision as "good" overall. Picture: Phil Adams

North Tyneside Council was announced by the Department for Education as one of eight new "partner in practice" councils earlier this year - local authorities deemed to be performing at an exceptional level that other councils can learn from.

The council was last month held up as an example of councils investing money upgrading technology so children's social workers can spend more time supporting families by BASW as part of its 80-20 campaign.

Inspectors conducting a "focused visit" said that since its last full Ofsted inspection in March 2017, which found services to be "good" overall, senior managers and leaders have led an extensive transformation programme.

"This has seen the establishment of a fully functioning multi-agency safeguarding hub (Mash), the very recent implementation of a new fit-for-purpose electronic system, and a whole-system approach to the introduction of a recognised and evidence-based model of practice," a letter outlining the findings of the visit states.

"In the cases audited and in all other work considered, the local authority had acted appropriately to safeguard children and keep them safe.

"The Mash works effectively to safeguard children. Partners are well engaged, which ensures timely information sharing, the consistent application of thresholds and proportionate responses for children and their families who need help and support."

Inspectors said that in all cases seen, relevant information, including historical information, was gathered and analysed well, showing that "risk is at the forefront of decision making". they also noted that there was a "well-embedded and rigorous system of management oversight and challenge".


The report adds that there is strong corporate leadership and ambition to improve services for children and their families, reflected in a determined transformation programme of children's services. Senior leaders know the service well, and this is reflected in the local authority's self-assessment.

However, the inspectors did flag up a number of areas where improvements should be made, including fine tuning of the new electronic system in order to introduce consistency of practice across the service.

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