A child at nursery

Significant step forward for children’s services in Hull

Hull’s children’s services mark a significant milestone after the latest full Ofsted inspection found the service is no longer Inadequate.

During a two-week inspection in November, inspectors found that the council provides ‘good’ services for children in care and has given an overall judgement of Requires Improvement.

The previous full inspection, in 2019, assessed the service as Inadequate and since then an extensive improvement journey of children’s services has been a top priority for the Hull City Council.

Pauline Turner, Director of children’s services said: “When I took up this role just over two years ago, I knew we wouldn’t be able to turn around the whole of children’s services overnight. What we have done is create long-lasting change that has benefitted the city’s children and their families.

“Ofsted’s judgement is a stepping stone for us, and we will continue on with developing the service with the ambition of delivering good and outstanding services for the children of Hull.

“I am proud of the staff who have undertaken a huge programme of change, alongside the impacts of covid. Improvements have been seen across wider council services and in how we work with partners.

“We have been on a journey to make sure the services we deliver are the best they can be, and going forward I know we can maintain this drive and pace, and I am really positive and excited for the future of Hull’s children’s services.”

The Ofsted report highlights that –

  • Leaders have developed and delivered a comprehensive improvement plan which has delivered improvements in services and outcomes for many children.
  • Purposeful early help work at the right time leads to improvements in children and families’ lives.
  • Social workers routinely complete sensitive direct work with children to help understand their daily lived experiences. Social workers know their children well.
  • Plans for children in care are appropriate and address their key needs and risks.
  • Children say that they feel listened to by senior leaders and believe that they influence service delivery for the better.
  • The virtual school is well led and effective in helping children progress in their education..
  • There has been investment in the recruitment and retention of foster carers, which is welcomed by carers.
  • Care leavers are supported to be ambitious and have opportunities to test different avenues to help them choose the path that is right for them.
  • Learning is more widely shared and embedded, supported by a range of measures including live performance data dashboards, detailed monthly performance reports, and a range of monthly case file audits.
  • A social work academy has been established, alongside an attractive workforce offer.

Matt Jukes, Chief Executive, said: “We understand we still have a lot to do but this report is a step-change from where we were previously with many positives, and hearing the feedback from Ofsted made me incredibly proud of how far we have come. I would like to thank all our Children’s Services staff for their huge and on-going efforts, and the many staff in other areas who are contributing to our council-wide focus on improving our services.

“We are particularly pleased to have achieved ‘Good’ for the services we provide for children in our care. We are already building on this and looking to many further improvements ahead so, first and foremost, we can consistently provide the very best support our young people and their families deserve.”

Councillor Linda Tock, Portfolio Holder for children’s services said: “This is an important step for children’s services, the council and for the city.

“We now move forwards with priorities to retain and recruit more social workers, to encourage more people to become foster carers and to build on the excellent work of involving children and families in service development and workforce training.

“We aspire to provide good and outstanding services for children and families in Hull and this is a significant milestone that should not be overlooked, as it provides the strong foundations for the future. I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of that journey, and continues to be a part of it.”

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