Diversity Series

Praise for Children’s Services improvements

Ofsted have praised the ongoing improvement work taking place in Liverpool City Council’s Children’s Services team.

A two-day monitoring visit in March, the outcome of which has just been published, has concluded that the leadership team is continuing to “drive improvement with pace, determination and a strong sense of purpose”, and that “timely progress is being made to improve the quality of services for children in need and children who are the subject of child protection plans”.

Ofsted found that:

  • The risk of harm to children is recognised more promptly than it was a year ago
  • Children are seen more regularly by social workers
  • Assessments of children’s needs are completed in a timelier way
  • The quality of assessments has shown signs of improvement since the first monitoring visit was undertaken in December 2023
  • There has been a “significant reduction” in caseloads of social workers

There is praise for the commitment and financial investment made by senior leaders to improve services for children, which is described as “tangible”, with them “fully engaged in improvement activity”.

Ofsted also found that staff “are positive about working in Liverpool and they feel well supported by their teams and managers”, and reported they have “more time to develop as practitioners and to improve the quality of their work with children and families”.

However, there is still inconsistency in the quality and impact of social work practice for children; some assessments are not consistently strong enough’; the quality of social work visits is “too variable”, and there is work to do in demonstrating a clear understanding of improved outcomes for children, in assessing when support can be stepped down.

Child protection plans were found to “clearly identify areas of concern and they contain appropriate actions to respond to the needs of vulnerable children” but are sometimes too task-focused, although “there have been noticeable improvements in this area of practice since the inspection a year ago”.

Councillor Liz Parsons, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “There is no greater responsibility for a Council than caring for vulnerable young people, and driving improvements in Children’s Services is our number one priority.

“A huge amount of time and effort is being devoted to making the changes necessary to deliver on our vision of excellent services, but we fully accept that despite the improvements made over the last year we still have a way to go.

“I would like to thank our staff who have embraced the changes we are making with such enthusiasm, and I am particularly pleased that the additional resources we have put in place are helping to reduce caseloads.

“The commitment that has been put in over the last 12 months is starting to pay dividends in improved outcomes for our most vulnerable young people.”

You can read the full report at https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50247206.

As part of the Children’s Services improvement journey, the Council is recruiting to a number of roles in its assessment, safeguarding and permanence teams. To find out more, and apply, visit: https://liverpool.gov.uk/childrens-social-care-recruitment/join-us/.

Liverpool Waterfront