Children’s social services in Brighton and Hove rated ‘good’

Cllr Daniel Chapman is the lead member for children, young people and skills
Cllr Daniel Chapman is the lead member for children, young people and skills

Education watchdog Ofsted said Brighton and Hove City Council’s social care services for children were ‘good’ after a three-week inspection in July.

The inspectors found leaders’ impact on social work practice with children and families was good and the experiences and progress of children needing help and protection required improvement.

They also found the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers were good and that the overall effectiveness of the services was good.

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Cllr Dan Chapman, chairman of the children, young people and skills committee, said: “We’ve made a number of improvements to our children’s social care services in recent years, and I’m delighted that Ofsted has acknowledged this.

“Above all, I’m thrilled that the commitment and tenacity of our social work teams has been so clearly recognised.”

Ofsted said social workers’ morale was high and that they demonstrated real job satisfaction; managers were aspirational for those in their charge and had a real desire to improve experiences and outcomes.

It said young people had good access to a range of housing and living options, and the council’s families, children and learning team had worked effectively to improve services and provide a cohesive response to the needs of children and families.

The inspectors also said that senior leaders were already alert about all areas requiring improvement, so they knew their services well.

The report’s findings demonstrate an improvement since the last inspection in 2015, which ranked the overall effectiveness of children’s services in the city as requiring improvement.

But the latest report still recommends improvements.

Specifically, Ofsted said these could be made in: case recording; the response to children in need; the progression of pre-proceedings work; the response to children missing from home or care; and the allocation of private fostering and care leaver cases to workers.

Previously, Ofsted has praised the council’s special educational needs and disability services, and given ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ ratings for short break and nursery provision.

The city has also had a higher than average percentage of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted school reports.

Executive director of families, children and learning at the council, Pinaki Ghoshal, said: “Our social care culture focuses on developing strong relationships with children and their families, listening, learning and guarding against complacency.

“We have put in place robust performance management and quality assurance arrangements.

“We’re also engaging better with parents, children and young people and taking their feedback into account when we change things.

“We have a great team in place here. All our staff are committed to giving the children and young people they work with the very best start in their lives.”