The Department for Education has ended its formal intervention with Northamptonshire’s children’s services after Ofsted recognised the improvements being made.
In 2013, Northamptonshire County Council’s child protection, adoption and looked-after children services were rated as inadequate following an inspection by Ofsted. As a result, the authority was issued with a direction notice from the Department for Education.
Since then, the county council has worked closely with partners to improve the service, overseen by a monthly Improvement Board, and in April Ofsted published a new inspection report rating the department ‘requires improvement to be good’.
Now the Minister of State for Children and Families Edward Timpson has written to the county council to recognise the progress made so far and confirm that DfE formal intervention is no longer needed.
In the letter, Mr Timpson said: “Your council has clearly achieved much in the three years since the previous inspections.
“You will, I am sure, be proud of the achievements noted by Ofsted, particularly in securing good quality child protection work in the MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub), establishing what is reported as an excellent social work academy and involving children in council care to create positive change.
“I am grateful for your commitment to supporting an ongoing improvement programme and for the significant financial investment made to secure those improvements.”
The Minister also recognised the instrumental role the creation of a Northamptonshire children’s trust will play in the ongoing improvement programme, notably in creating a more stable and able workforce.
Support and supervision
The county council will continue to receive informal support and supervision from the DfE for a period of 12 months after April’s Ofsted inspection report.
County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby said: “We have worked incredibly hard over the past three years to introduce significant improvements to children’s services in Northamptonshire and I am pleased that the DfE has recognised this progress.
“We are fully committed to continuing our improvement programme and look forward to working with the Government to fully embed the progress and address outstanding areas for improvement.”
The county council’s Cabinet will discuss the Minister’s letter at its meeting today (Tuesday).