Further significant milestones achieved in Hull’s social care improvement journey

Hull has been on an improvement journey across children’s social care since January 2019, when Ofsted assessed the service as Inadequate.

Over the last two years, Hull City Council’s Children’s Services have had six monitoring visits by Ofsted, looking at different parts of the service. The Department for Education (DfE) also appointed a Children’s Services Commissioner, Paul Moffat, to advise and oversee improvements. In addition, Hull has been subject to formal six-monthly reviews by the DfE.

The latest Ofsted monitoring visit took place on 20 and 21 July and the findings have been published today.

The visit found positive improvements across all areas of focus, as did the latest DfE six-monthly progress review, which looked at Social Care and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). The Children’s Services Commissioner has reported Hull’s progress to the Minister for Children and Families over the last two years and following these latest reviews, has recommended to the DfE that the level of intervention could be stepped down.

The DfE agreed that the Commissioner is now no longer required to oversee improvements in Hull. A separate Improvement Notice is still in place until a full re-inspection of Children’s Services takes place later this year.

Minister for Children and Families, Brendan Clarke-Smith, said: “It’s good to see Hull City Council’s focus on improving their children’s services. By listening to children’s experiences and creating strong relationships with social workers they are directly helping some of the most vulnerable families.

“The commitment of local leaders and hard-working professionals like those in Hull are all part of our nationwide efforts to improve children’s social care across the country.”

The latest Ofsted monitoring visit in Hull looked at Early Help and Child in Need assessments, and Ofsted Inspectors met with a range of front-line Social Workers, reviewing the work they had undertaken with children and their families across the Early Help and Safeguarding Hub (EHASH) and Assessment teams.

The headline findings of the Ofsted monitoring visit state:

  • Children and families in Hull now receive a timely and appropriate response when they are referred to Children’s Social Care.
  • Safeguarding and supporting vulnerable children now involves a whole council and wider partnership collaboration.
  • Highly effective information sharing helps deliver timely and proportionate help and protection services.
  • Strong management oversight of social work practice ensures that children receive the right help at the right time.
  • Corporate financial investment has been provided to the front door and assessment teams.
  • Through an increase in permanent staff, and an embedded practice model, families experience more meaningful relationships with social workers. The lived experience of children is well considered by social workers and informs interventions.
  • Staff are well supported by highly visible and approachable senior leaders and managers. They feel invested in and valued.
  • Staff morale is high, and they are very positive about the progress the local authority is making.
  • Social workers are rightly very proud of their work with families.

Hull’s six monitoring visits over the last two years have focused on different aspects of social care. A full two-week reinspection by Ofsted of the whole of Children’s Services is expected to be undertaken by the end of the year.

Councillor Linda Tock, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “Under the strong leadership of Pauline Turner, the Council’s Director of Childrens Services, and her senior team, we have seen real change and improvement. I’m really pleased this has been recognised by the Department for Education and by Ofsted. Formally stepping down the engagement of the Council’s DfE appointed Children’s Commissioner is a very significant milestone in Hull’s improvement journey.

“As the new Portfolio Holder for Childrens Services I am determined to work with the Council’s hard-working and committed staff to continue to make improvements to the services Hull City Council provides for children and families in the city. I want to ensure this step forward results in positive change for the long-term, so that the Council is supporting the city’s young people and their families is the best way we can.”

Pauline Turner, Director of Children’s Services said : “I’m very hopeful that when we receive our full inspection of Children’s Services that the overall judgement will improve.

“I am delighted that Hull is continuing to show real, positive improvements in how we support children, young people and their families, and this is thanks to the commitment and dedication of our staff. ”

Matt Jukes, Chief Executive of Hull City Council said: “Our young people and their families deserve the very highest standards of support and I am extremely pleased that, through the dedication, hard work and commitment of our staff and partners, we are taking big strides in the improvement of our services to deliver that.

“Supporting vulnerable young people, and working with them and their families to secure the best outcomes, is one of the most important things we do as a Council, and it takes a collective effort involving many council services, our Elected Members and partner organisations. I’m encouraged that Ofsted and the Department for Education have seen how we are now focussed on this and, most importantly, they have seen how it is making a real difference to the young people we support.”

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