Children and young people are receiving timely support say Ofsted
Monday, August 16, 2021
Ofsted inspectors have endorsed the way that Lancashire County Council continued to support children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During a recent focused visit of children's services, and in particular the help and protection it provides for vulnerable children, inspectors highlighted that children who need help and protection, receive timely support at the appropriate level of need.
They also praised senior leaders for their coherent strategic approach to changing and improving services that has resulted in progress being made.
The virtual inspection was carried out as part of Ofsted's review into how the social care system nationally has provided services and care for children and young people since the outbreak of Covid-19.The inspection in Lancashire looked at arrangements where families come into contact with children’s services, including assessments and plans for child protection and children in need, referrals to early help services, for support and links with other agencies.
Inspectors looked at how the threshold for services and accommodation of children is applied, as well as decision-making and contact with families and children.
In a letter published by Ofsted today (Monday 16 August), the inspection team also points out that Lancashire has experienced high levels of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and, at the time of this visit, continued to have one of the highest infection rates in the country.
Inspectors also found that since the pandemic, partners worked effectively to maintain services and minimise the impact on vulnerable children and their families. Inspectors highlighted that this is a noteworthy achievement, particularly given the size of the county and its workforce, and the significant and continued impact of COVID-19.
County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: "The way that staff and managers have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in Lancashire has been exceptional. I am proud that Ofsted has recognised the way the service has continued to work proactively and incredibly hard to keep children and young people safe, despite the huge challenges the pandemic has placed upon us.
"The letter is a mainly positive assessment of children's services in Lancashire, further demonstrating that we are continuing to make strong progress as we strive to achieve excellence.
"We will never become complacent. Any thorough inspection like this will also highlight areas where we could do better. We will continue, at pace, to address these. In all we do, we will continue to work hard to make a positive difference to the lives of our most vulnerable children, young people and their families."
The Ofsted visit took place on the 6th and 7th July, 2021 and was in line with the inspection of local authority children’s services (ILACS) framework. This visit was carried out by remote means, using video calls for discussions with local authority social workers, managers and leaders.
The full findings of the Ofsted focused visit to Lancashire County Council Children's Services is available on the Ofsted website at reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80480