A ground-breaking programme for looked-after children and young people in North Yorkshire has been judged as outstanding by Ofsted. It has also won a national award for innovation in children’s services.
The programme is called No Wrong Door for looked-after children and young people as well as those leaving care. The programme has attracted Government attention and support for its innovative approach to the needs of some of the county’s most vulnerable young people.
The programme centres around two hubs, one in Scarborough to serve the east of the county while one in Harrogate serves the west. The aim is to replace all traditional council-run children’s homes with a range of integrated provision coordinated by the hubs.
The Scarborough hub, called 53, Stepney Road, has been judged as outstanding by Ofsted in a recent inspection and No Wrong Door has also been declared the winner for innovation at the prestigious LGC (Local Government Chronicle) awards.
Over 800 of the most senior figures in British local government gathered at London’s Grosvenor House for the awards late last week which celebrate achievements and best practice across the sector.
After review by a panel of judges, made up of senior and influential figures from the public sector, North Yorkshire County Council was presented with the Innovation award sponsored by Atkins.
The judges said they were very impressed with the results achieved by North Yorkshire and the way simple ideas and a new approach had been applied effectively to produce striking outcomes to improve the lives of vulnerable children whilst also saving money.
This recognition, along with the Ofsted judgement, justifies the radical approach the County Council has taken to transform the lives of looked-after children and young people and those leaving care.
North Yorkshire was the first authority in the country to attract over £2m from the Department for Education’s Innovations Programme for rethinking care for adolescents.
The Government funding is more than matched by over £4 million from the authority’s own resources for looked-after children, to develop this radical initiative over the next three years.
Each No Wrong Door hub has a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team including a life coach, who is a clinical psychologist, a supportive police role and a speech and communications therapist. Each hub also includes residential care home beds; emergency residential beds; community foster family placements; supported accommodation and supported lodgings and outreach support. All professionals working in the hubs are trained and work in common with a restorative and solutions-focused approach.
According to inspectors leadership and management of 53, Stepney Road is inspiring and everybody who works and lives there knows that the home is focused entirely on the wellbeing of the young people and is run entirely for their benefit. Ofsted says that young people make exceptional progress under this system, including in their social and emotional development, because their needs are “readily identified and they benefit from tailored support to address these straightaway.”
Inspectors stated: “Young people live in a vibrant, homely and highly nurturing atmosphere that enhances their lives in all areas and where they feel wanted. Young people quickly learn that the managers and staff are all there to help them improve their lives and as a result they do. Young people are provided with opportunities to achieve, specifically aimed at encouraging them to think about their futures and to aim high. This increases young people’s belief in themselves and their abilities.”
Ofsted praised the fact young people have direct access to “excellent sources of professional support” offered by a clinical psychologist and speech and language therapy and general health checks.
“As a high performing authority with strong committed partnerships in place we were confident that we were very well placed to deliver this model effectively,” said Pete Dwyer, North Yorkshire’s Director of the Children and Young People’s service. “The LGC award this week and Ofsted’s recent judgement of this service in 53, Stepney Road has proved what we believe; that with the right structures in places, and with the drive, the vision and the commitment of our workforce, we really can make a difference to the lives of our most vulnerable and challenging young people.”
“We are extremely proud of what we are achieving through No Wrong Door,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, “and we are thrilled that the vision and hard work of our highly committed staff has been recognised as outstanding by the inspectorate and in national awards. North Yorkshire’s priority is to improve the life chances of our most vulnerable young people and we hope now that other authorities will follow this lead.”