Cambridgeshire has been highlighted in a national report for its performance in turning its children's social care safeguarding function around.

The praise comes in OfSTED's annual report on social care, published today (10 March).

The report draws on the findings of over 5,600 inspections of social care services, including local authority children's services, children's homes, fostering services, adoption support agencies, secure training centres, and residential family centres.

Last August inspectors rated the County Council as "˜overall good' for its arrangements for children in need of help and protection, looked after children and care leavers.

The "˜good' judgement came less than two years after a similar inspection rated the authority's safeguarding procedures as "˜inadequate.'

This was the first time a local authority in the country had gone from "˜inadequate' to "˜good' for child protection "“ a leap of two categories to the second highest.

In its annual report published today, OfSTED states: "Two of the local authorities we have inspected over the last year, Essex and Cambridgeshire, who had previously been judged inadequate, have now been judged to be good overall. These local authorities have demonstrated good leadership, a commitment to provide specialist early help for families and a strong focus on good practice. Their leaders have prioritised recruitment and cultivated an improved social work environment and there is effective scrutiny of casework decisions."

Of 43 inspections carried out in the past 12 months by OfSTED, seven authorities were found to be inadequate, with a further 26 requiring improvement.

Cllr Joan Whitehead, Chairwoman of the Cambridgeshire's Children and Young People's Committee said: "I am delighted that Cambridgeshire has been recognised in OfSTED's annual report. It reinforces the huge amount of hard work done by managers, frontline staff and members in turning round our safeguarding procedures in such a short time from "˜inadequate' to "˜good'.

"We were right to keep our faith in the current leadership of children's services and that faith has been vindicated "“ both in the original re-inspection and in this annual report.

"The key point was that inspectors found social workers felt safe, secure and valued. That is important to them and important to us "“ the contribution made by frontline staff is vital."

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