The report also describes a number of improvements that have been made in recent years.
The Council’s Childcare Department was inspected by Ofsted between 20th and 30th September 2022.
The service was rated “inadequate” during a full inspection in 2015 and “needs improvement” during an inspection in 2017.
The Ofsted report found that while services had improved in recent years, the “speed of improvement in some areas has been too slow”.
The latest report points to significant improvements in a number of areas. It states: “The local authority has continued to strengthen the impact of relationships with key partners.
“Better application of the boundaries between early intervention and childcare means that children tend to get the right help at the right time.
“Disabled children who need help and protection now benefit from effective support.
However, the report highlights the issues for improvement, noting: “Children do not receive a consistently good response to meet their needs.
“Assessments and plans for children who need help and protection are not always thorough and child-centred.
“There is not a sufficiently robust response to reducing risks for vulnerable groups of children, including those who are missing or at risk of exploitation, those who are long-term neglected, and those who are in private care.”
John Readman, County Council Executive Director for People, responded to the latest findings by saying: “Our aim has always been to be consistently good in all areas.
“Despite the impact of the pandemic and the restructuring of local government, we are pleased that Ofsted has recognized that significant progress has been made towards this goal since our last inspection and that this has had a real impact on children and young people.
“Ofsted’s recognition of the strength of working with foster children and care leavers was particularly welcome.
“It is also reassuring that Ofsted’s highlighted areas where more work is needed are consistent with our own self-assessment, carried out prior to the inspection.
“Ofsted recognizes that we have clear plans to further develop and improve the services and are fully focused on delivering them.
“We know that despite all the hard work so far, more needs to be done to ensure the consistent quality and impact of our work.”
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