Diversity Series

Government encouraged by recent progress in improving Children’s Services

The Department for Education has praised improvements in Children and Young People’s Services.

Officials visited Liverpool for a six-month review following the publication of the Ofsted inspection earlier this year.

The review team met with Social Workers, Team Managers, Heads of Services, Service Managers and Assistant Directors, as well as Chief Executive Andrew Lewis, Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Jenny Turnross, Council Leader, Cllr Liam Robinson and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Liz Parsons.

They found that the Council has already made “positive steps on its improvement journey” and they are “encouraged” by the progress so far.

In a letter to Chief Executive Andrew Lewis, the review team said: “It is clear that the Council’s administration and senior leaders are ambitious and committed to improving Children’s Services in Liverpool. Since the appointment of the new Children’s leadership team, Liverpool has begun to put in place the appropriate foundations, with staff beginning to see some early signs of improvement.”

“It was evident throughout the review that the small group of staff we met with are dedicated, loyal and committed to working in Liverpool and demonstrate a passion for ensuring the best outcomes for the children and families of Liverpool. Each group acknowledged the progress that had been made since the new senior leadership team has been in place and they are committed to supporting the work set out in Liverpool’s improvement plan.”

They also found that staff had started to see a reduction in caseloads, “enabling them to improve practice and deliver improved outcomes which, in turn, is driving a sense of optimism and supporting improved morale”, and that they feel listened to and engaged.  

They added: “There is a definite positive shift emerging as the workforce begins to feel less chaotic with an understanding that changes made will improve the service. There are green shoots with regards to staff working on action plans which they know contribute to the overarching improvement plan and staff could articulate how they fed into one another.”

“Speaking to the Elected Members and yourself, it was clear you all have a good understanding of the key challenges facing Liverpool and are able to articulate how the whole Council is wrapping around Children’s Services. The significant financial investment made by the Council shows positive signs of their commitment to the improvement journey.”

Responding to the feedback letter, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services, Cllr Liz Parsons, said: “This is really encouraging feedback from the Department for Education at such an early stage in the improvement journey.

“I know how hard our staff are working to embrace the changes we are making to deliver on our ambition of making sure we provide the best possible services for young people, and this is fantastic recognition for them.

“We are not complacent though and we are fully aware that it will take time, commitment and determination to embed the improvements and realise our aim of becoming an outstanding service.”

Liverpool Waterfront