An inspection into the Children’s Services at Newcastle City Council has rated them as ‘Requiring Improvement’

The rating is below ‘Good’ but above one that would be deemed as failing, and is in line with the majority of Local Authorities nationally who have been inspected under this current framework.

The inspection took place over a two week period between 24 April and 11 May 2017, the previous inspection took place in 2012.

The inspectors visited and observed staff across the Council’s Children’s Services, including those working in fostering and adoption, supporting care leavers and protecting vulnerable children. They looked closely at the experience of children and young people who have needed or still need help or protection, whilst considering how the quality of work can improve their lives.

Despite the overall rating requiring improvement three of the five key areas that have been inspected were classified as good. The areas that do require improvement already have action plans in place and the recent transformation of long term social care in the city will tackle many of the recommendations.

The five areas inspected are –
• Adoption Performance – Good
• Experiences of care leavers – Good
• Leadership, management and governance – Good
• Children who need help and protection – Requires Improvement
• Children looked after and achieving permanence – Requires Improvement

Ewen Weir, Director of People at Newcastle City Council said:

“We welcome the findings of this OFSTED report.”

“Although the overall classification is disappointing, we are pleased that the inspectors recognised areas of good practice across the service. These included Adoption Performance and Experiences and Progress of Care Leavers, which were both rated as “Good”.”

“The fact that the inspectors also rated Leadership, Management and Governance of the service as ‘Good’ demonstrates OFSTED’s confidence that areas requiring improvement will be addressed successfully.”

“We already have robust action plans in place for all the issues raised by OFSTED and will immediately take steps to address any other areas identified as needing improvement.”

“Our priority is to ensure we have a modern, efficient Children’s Service that protects all of Newcastle’s children and young people. This report confirms that with a skilled and dedicated workforce, strong political support and ongoing service transformation we are on course to achieve this”.

The Council’s long term social care service was recently redesigned following funding from the Depart for Education (DfE). The new Family Insights programme has remodelled the teams and moved to a unit based model of social work, with specialised teams that work with specific needs and concerns. The report notes that many of the recommendations that have been highlighted will be overcome when this new model is fully implemented and developed.

A full copy of the OFSTED report is available on OFSTED’s website –
https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/newcastle-upon-tyne