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‘Concrete and significant improvement’ but Cambridgeshire’s Children’s Services require further improvement to be good

16 May 2024

Leaders at Cambridgeshire County Council have created strong foundations to drive improvement in Children’s Services, but the service overall requires improvement, according to Ofsted.

The report, which follows a recent inspection and was published today (16 May) on the Ofsted website said: “Senior leaders have now made an accurate self-assessment and have created strong foundations to drive practice improvement.”

However, inspectors said that although since 2019 there had been no overall improvement in services for vulnerable children, they acknowledged that “evidence of concrete and significant improvement in recent months had taken place.”

They also added: “This improvement was initiated by a new chief executive and assisted by the appropriate decision to decouple shared leadership and service arrangements from Peterborough” and that “there has been significant political and corporate investment and commitment to the improvement of outcomes for children in Cambridgeshire.”

Councillor Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee said the safety and well-being of the children and young people in the council’s care was its top priority and acknowledged that there was work to be done.

“Our focus has been on streamlining our processes and providing the right support and guidance for staff to enable them to support children and their families to make and sustain positive changes.

“However, we know there is still a lot to do. Over the coming months we will continue to work closely with our staff, partners and the improvement board to ensure that children in Cambridgeshire achieve their best possible outcomes.

“The report states that the director of children’s services and leadership team focused solely on Cambridgeshire and have added momentum to the positive change which is needed across children’s services.

“We are on a journey of improvement and there has been a relentless focus on reducing staff turnover and creating a more stable workforce so that we can offer better outcomes for children and young people. Our culture has shifted to support staff to improve practice and we are delivering this through the new children’s academy, which supports learning and development within our children’s social worker and social care practitioner workforce.”

Councillor Michael Atkins, Vice Chair of the Children and Young People’s Committee added: "We take the findings of the Ofsted inspection very seriously, and we are fully committed to making the necessary improvements to ensure that every child and young person receives the high-quality care and the support they deserve.

“We have separated from Peterborough to drive improvements for Cambridgeshire and we have already strengthened our ‘front door’ with the simplification of processes. Improvements have made our response to child exploitation more robust, child in need planning is now timelier and the quality of supervision of social work has improved.

"We are dedicated to meet the improvements so that we can offer an environment where children and young people can thrive. There is still much that we need to achieve so that we can truly offer our most vulnerable better outcomes now and in the future.”

The full Ofsted report can be viewed here