An Ofsted inspection of children’s services in Northamptonshire has found good progress is being made to improve services for vulnerable children and young people.
The inspection of Northamptonshire County Council’s children’s services in April looked at the arrangements for children in need and those subject to child protection plans, and evaluated the effectiveness of managers and team leaders.
The inspection team spent time with more than 60 social work staff, looking at children’s cases and the quality of social work practice.
The Ofsted report, published on 18 May, says while it recognises there are still challenges in continuing to improve the quality of social work practice, there is a ‘clear service improvement plan underway, and encouraging progress has been made’.
The report states: “Senior leaders are working hard to change the culture of social work in Northamptonshire and to create a positive environment for staff to continue to improve their practice.
“Political support for children’s services continues to be strong, and the whole-system transformation plan that is underway is clearly focused on addressing capacity issues and supporting the retention of social workers.”
The inspection team did highlight a number of areas that still require improvement, including the variable quality of assessments and care plans, high caseloads and the frequency of supervision for social workers.
County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Victoria Perry said:
“We are really pleased with the progress that has been made since the last Ofsted inspection in 2016. I am particularly pleased that the inspection team highlighted the relationship our social workers build with their children and families, because this is vital in order for them to build trust and provide the support these families need.
“There is clearly still much to do but this inspection visit assures us that we are on the right track and that improvements have been made.”