Two children look out of a window.
Two children look out of a window.

Hull City Council’s Children’s Services continue to improve as government lifts Improvement Notice

Hull City Council’s Children’s Services are no longer under an Improvement Notice.

David Johnston OBE MP, the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing recently wrote to the Council to inform them that the Department for Education (DfE) was lifting its Improvement Notice.

An Improvement Notice is a direction issued by the DfE to local authorities, setting out areas of concern, the level of improvement required, when and how this will be assessed, and subsequent steps that may be taken if improvement is not achieved.

In January 2019, the Council were rated Inadequate following a full Ofsted inspection. After implementing an improvement plan and several monitoring visits from Ofsted, the service was reassessed by Ofsted to be ‘Requires Improvement’ in January 2023.

The DfE Improvement Notice continued to stay in place and then in July 2023, a DfE appointed Adviser, Caroline O’Neill, undertook a review of the Children’s Services in Hull. Her subsequent report was overwhelmingly positive.

It described the council’s Children’s Services as having a culture of supportive challenge and has the child’s voice firmly at the centre of service delivery. It commended the leadership in Hull and commented on the corporate, political and partnership commitment to improving Children’s Services. The report highlighted the focus on performance and quality and the continuing investment in the workforce – in particular, the Social Work Academy. As a result, it was recommended that the Improvement Notice be removed and the minister agreed.

In his letter to the Council, the Minister said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the staff in Hull for your hard work and commitment in moving Hull’s children’s services to this much stronger position. Children’s social care services are so important to the most vulnerable children locally and this means that it is essential that they are delivered to a high standard. I look forward to seeing Hull’s continued progress over the coming months and years.”

Councillor Linda Tock, the portfolio holder for Children’s Services at Hull City Council said: “I’m delighted that the immense progress our Children’s Services has made has been recognised by the Department for Education.

“This is thanks to the commitment and dedication of our hardworking staff and leadership team who work tirelessly to support our city’s children and young people. This is a significant step in the service’s ongoing improvement journey and I’m confident it can continue going from strength-to-strength.”

Sunrise at Priory Woods Cemetery
The Guildhall in Hull, with Charles Wilson statue in the foreground