Ofsted Focus Visit
The Director of Children’s Services advised that there had been an Ofsted Focused Visit and the report was published on 15.07.2021. The Director outlined she would circulate a presentation to Board members and if there were specifics that the Board members wishes to focus on, this could be added to the agenda going forward.
The visit was conducted by 4 social care and 1 educational inspector , who looked at the service with a covid lense.
They were generally pleased with the Local Authority had dealt with the situation and Middlesbrough had put in place the major incident plan swiftly and we put in place new ways of working across the Council.
There were some positive comments made in relation to partnerships, especially the way the local authority engaged with schools , however there were comments made that the Local authority need to understand more about children missing from education.
In terms of main findings:
· Demand for children’s services has steadily increased over the past year
· Front door work has improved.
· Inspectors provided positive comments in relation to our work with children and the relationships with children and young people in terms of care leavers.
· Social work is focused.
In terms of improvement:
· We have Variability in practice
· Lack of suitable foster placements in children’’ homes but this is external.
· too many care leavers in NEET
There was a significant focus on Education and the Inspector stayed focused mainly on virtual schools.
There looked to ensure that children were in registered provision, rather than unregistered and that 2 children had their appropriate education provision.
The visit was varied and they inspectors looked at SEND provision
There were two additional recommendation from the focused visit, which were additional to the recommendations made at the full ofted visit which are being worked on regulary.
Firstly, we needed Management oversight for those vulnerable children and those with special needs and secondly, the Local Authority need to focus on the identity of children and young people and their diverse needs.
The Commissioner had been working with Middlesbrough over the past week and would be writing to the Minister. Initial feedback was positive.
Looking towards an Ofsted Monitoring visit which would come at the end of the year/ early 2022.
Corporate Reference Group
The Director of Children’s Services outlined that the group which is Chaired by the Chief Executive which looked at two aspects. The first looks at how all the Council Directorates can contribute to children’s improvement agenda and there is a plan in place. Secondly, how the Council can redevise Middlesbrough Children Matter, so that there is a whole council commitment. The Chief Executive outlined that they thought they had a set of outcomes which they thougth were correct for children and young people, however young people need to be the leaders on this and there was a plan for consultation in place, so that they were written in a child/young person friendly way.
This was due to be considered by the Executive in October 2021 for political sign off and it was outlined that this would be brought to the Board in the next meeting for input.
That the information be noted.
That the Chief Executive provide a presentation to the Board at the next meeting.