As part of the inspection of local authority children’s services, Ofsted conducted a focused visit on the progress and experience of young people leaving care in the Borough, earlier this year.
The outcomes of this visit were published in March but due to the council entering the pre-election period, today’s meeting was an opportunity for our Cabinet members to be fully updated.
No graded judgement has been given following the focused visit, and no serious weaknesses or urgent recommendations were made by Ofsted.
Ofsted recommended that the following areas needed some attention, but was mindful that improvements have already begun to take place via our Children’s Services Development Plan:
- Earlier opportunities for care leavers to build supportive relationships with consistent personal advisers.
- Workload capacity and management oversight of support for care leavers.
- Needs assessments and pathway plans, including regular review when young people’s circumstances change.
- The integrity of performance data used across children’s services.
- The regularity and impact of quality assurance activity.
Ofsted also acknowledged the long-standing commitment of both the council’s leadership and management to continually improving its offer to young people leaving care who, it would be fair to say, have been disproportionately affected by the unprecedented events of the last three years.
At a previous meeting, Cabinet members agreed on additional investment to strengthen Children’s Services. This included action to help young people leaving care in Barnsley to maintain relationships, tackle the risk of homelessness and deprivation, as well as enable them to participate in education and attain skills or qualifications that will ensure pathways into employment and higher education.
Progress towards achieving our ambitions for young people leaving care will be reported as part of our proposed quarterly reporting process to Cabinet on the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.
Last year, the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care published its recommendations for the reform of children’s social care, including those relating to the progress and experience of young people leaving care. Earlier this month, the DfE consulted on its proposed response to the Independent Review. We hope that as these reforms begin to be implemented over the medium term, all councils will be sufficiently funded and resourced to help make a significant difference to these young lives in our borough.
The report can be read in full here. (Item 6).