Ofsted praises Warrington children's services leaders

By Dan Parton

| 21 August 2019

The "energetic" and "collaborative" leadership of senior managers at Warrington Council children's services has been praised by Ofsted, which has awarded the department a "good" rating.

Ofsted praised Warrington for investing in training for staff at all levels on systemic approaches. Picture: Auremar/Adobe Stock

Ofsted judged Warrington children's services as "good" in each of the areas that were focused on in the inspection: the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection and the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers. The council received an overall "good" rating.

Inspectors praised leaders and senior managers for being "highly committed to the continued improvement of services for vulnerable children", while political leadership was described as "vibrant and inquisitive".

In addition, inspectors noted that the service and structure have recently been redesigned to reflect a "systemic" practice model and senior managers are focused on the impact that their initiatives have on enhancing the standard of social work with children.

"The reflective approach used in senior management meetings is mirrored in much purposeful support and intervention with children," it states.

Meanwhile, a drive to bring team managers closer to frontline practice appears to have paid off as they have detailed knowledge of children's cases.

Warrington was also praised for its investment in training for staff at all levels on systemic approaches.

Strong strategic partnerships with other agencies, forged and strengthened by the chief executive and director of children's services, were also noted by inspectors.

Collaborative multi-agency delivery was particularly evident across early help services, in children's cases in the multi-agency safeguarding hub and the cases of those on statutory plans, in improved arrangements for vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds and safeguarding arrangements.

Council leader Russ Bowden said the report is a "testament" to what can be achieved with skill and determination, but added that major investment was required to achieve this result.

He said: "Warrington's children's services have received continuous investment over the last 10 years to improve the support provided to children and families across the borough."

He added that the council will continue to invest in children's services.

"Our aim is for this to be acknowledged and gain an 'outstanding' rating next time Ofsted come to call."

Amanda Amesbury, operational director of children's social care, said: "In Warrington we have a really effective partnership working between health, education, the police and other public service professionals. This enables necessary interventions to be arranged quickly, often while assessments are in progress, so that children do not have to wait for the help they need.

"Our practice is based on having good relationships with families and we want to ensure every child has access to the right support when they need it, and that every step is taken to protect children from harm. We work closely with our partners every day to achieve this, and this report shows we are doing a lot of things right."

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