Council welcomes Ofsted review of ‘front door’ services for children in Hull

Hull City Council has today (Thursday 1 March) welcomed the findings of a recent focused visit by Ofsted looking at ‘front door’ services for children in Hull.

Inspectors visited the city on 6 and 7 February and reviewed all of the services that receive contacts and referrals in relation to children and families.

The inspection team’s findings, set out in a letter to Hull City Council and published by Ofsted today, acknowledge that significant changes have been made to improve services over recent months which have been led by Alison Murphy, the city’s Director of Children, Young People and Family Services.

Alison Murphy said: “As a result of an internal progress review last year, we identified a need to increase the pace of our service improvement. We have since taken action to increase resources and, from April, there will be an additional 24 social workers, helping to reduce caseloads, strengthen our services and improve outcomes for children and families.

“There is more to do to improve the consistency and quality of our services but we are pleased that the Inspectors have recognised the progress made so far.”

Councillor Phil Webster, Portfolio Holder for Learning, Skills and Safeguarding Children, said: “This focused visit was an important step for us, recognising the commitment of staff and the work we have done to strengthen our improvement so far. We know more work is needed to drive forward our quality of practice and to demonstrate further improvements at our next inspection visit. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality of service we can and our priority is to ensure that our children and young people are safe and have the best chances in life.”

In their letter to the Council, the inspectors highlighted a number of strengths:
• senior leaders have a good understanding of frontline practice
• plans are being developed to deliver a consistent quality of practice
• strong efforts are being made to engage with children to understand their experiences and needs
• good thorough assessments are being carried out and risks are appropriately assessed
• there is a strong and committed workforce who are positive about the support they receive from management and understand the need to improve

Areas for improvement, which the Council is already addressing, include:

• consistency of record keeping and recording of evidence, along with the compatibility of electronic systems
• inconsistency in quality and timeliness of assessments
• a need for more systematic management oversight in general
• too many reactive and unplanned decisions in relating to taking children into care
• performance management in the service needs to be improved

The inspection report can be found on the Ofsted website here: