Improved report for Suffolk children’s services

CHILDREN’S services in Suffolk have been given good marks by inspectors after an unannounced visit by an Ofsted team.

The inspection came just a year after an earlier visit highlighted issues that needed to be addressed by social work teams who dealt with children’s issues.

In particular last year the Ofsted team was concerned about the number of cases some teams had to deal with – in one case a single manager was dealing with 35 active cases.

The Ofsted team came to Suffolk last month and found that most of its concerns raised last year had been addressed – in particular it found that teams that had been understaffed were now fully up to strength.

The report says: “Area teams are fully staffed by qualified social workers and there is a good balance of practice experience.

“This enables the prompt allocation of assessments; there is no unallocated work and caseloads are manageable.

“This was an area for priority action at the previous unannounced inspection.”

Cabinet member with responsibility for children and young people Graham Newman was delighted by Ofsted’s findings – especially coming so soon after last year’s report.

He said: “I am extremely pleased with the positive feedback received from Ofsted. It is especially encouraging to have acknowledged how Suffolk ensures the protection of children to a high standard.

“The unannounced visits carried out by Ofsted are so valuable as they capture how our service is working on a day to day basis. I’d like to thank the staff for all their hard work especially as this inspection took place during the early stages of a new model of working for the service.

“For Ofsted to recognise the quality of the services being provided by the Children’s Social Care team now the reorganisation has taken place is extremely encouraging.”