(1) Outstanding, (2) Good, (3) Requires Improvement and (4) Inadequate
The outcome of the most recent Ofsted Inspection to be conducted for these services within West Sussex County Council rated the authority as 'Requires Improvement'. This is as per the inspection report issued in January 2016.
Prior to that, our last Ofsted inspection of our child protection arrangements in February 2013, Ofsted judged the service that we provide to keep children and young people safe to be "adequate". This followed a previous inspection in November 2010 which considered our service to be "inadequate". Due to the way in which Ofsted conducts inspections it would have been impossible for the County Council to achieve a rating better than "adequate" following an "inadequate" rating in 2010.
Improvements have therefore been made to the service we provide to keep children and young people safe but we are not complacent. It is our ambition to receive a "good" or better rating at our next Ofsted inspection. Plans are in place to improve our services for vulnerable children and young people and we believe that the efforts we are making will result in further improvements to our Ofsted rating at our next inspection.
While our safeguarding services have been the subject of Government intervention and are now adequate, our Fostering and Adoption services have both been inspected in the last two years and both services were judged to be Good with Outstanding features.
For more information on how Ofsted regulates and inspects children’s social care, please go to the Ofsted website:
Quarter 3 - December 2017
Responding to concerns has been a priority area for us and we can now demonstrate that 99% of referrals are dealt with within 24hrs.
Work has also focused on improving the timeliness of child protection conferences to ensure that children are safe and regularly reviewed. Current data shows that 92% of conferences are held on time. This compares to a national figure of 77%.
- Additionally we are undertaking regular audits of child protection plans to ensure that we have strengthened decision making and that purposeful work is taking place with children at risk of harm.
Overall performance has continued to improve in Quarter 3 and we have robust plans in place to ensure that we focus on quality of practice so that our children and their families get the best services and support to meet their needs.
Quarter 1 -June 2017
In this quarter we have been able to improve how quickly we can make decisions when we are asked if we can provide support to a child. Now 70% of referrals have a decision within 24 hours. Our target for this year is to be able to achieve this in 85% of cases. Later this year in September, the implementation of the new recording tool will support improved timeliness.
We want to ensure the best outcomes for children we look after. We want to ensure children who need specialist emotional or psychological support as a result of trauma they have suffered are identified and provided with services without delay. In Quarter, 1, 94% of children looked after had an assessment of need called a strengths and difficulties questionnaire. We have exceeded our target for this year. We have also been able to ensure children do not wait for psychological assessment or therapy with 95% of children receiving help within time scales.
We want to narrow the achievement gap between children looked after and other children, and support them to be ready for work as they get older. In Quarter 1, 66% of care leavers were involved in education, training or employment. This is an improvement on last year and is better than similar authorities matched for need. Our ambition is to continue to achieve improvement in this respect so that young people make a good transition to adult life although we have met the target [65%] set for this year.
We want to make sure young children who cannot live safely with their parents do not wait before they can join a safe permanent family through adoption. From Court permission to match with adopters has been 187 days in Quarter 1. We have increased recruitment and will continue to work on increasing our pool of adopters. Our performance in timeliness of securing a permanent placement for a child remains good when compared to similar authorities.
Overall performance has continued to improve in Quarter 1 We will also continue to focus on quality of practice to ensure our children and families get the best services. This will position the service well to achieve a “Good” judgement at future inspection if we continue to drive consistent good practice. This is challenged by increased case-work demand in Quarter 1 creating some workload pressures across the service.