Ofsted reports increase in ‘excellent’ children’s services
More local authorities are providing excellent services for children this year, the latest annual round-up of Ofsted assessments has found.
According to the outcomes of the annual children’s services assessments for 2011, the majority of authorities in England have good or better provision for children, with 28 providing excellent services – eight more than the previous year.
Overall, 25 authorities improved their performance compared with 2010 and seven saw a drop in standards.
In total, 28 councils performed excellently, 71 were judged as performing well, 33 performed adequately and 15 were judged as performing poorly. The judgments on five further authorities are yet to be finalised.
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Ofsted chief inspector Miriam Rosen said: “It is encouraging to see that more authorities continue to provide excellent services for children and young people in their local area. These authorities are a beacon for others and must be congratulated for their achievement in supporting and helping to ensure that children are safe, happy and get the best possible start in life.
“This year’s children’s services assessments have shown that more authorities have improved their children’s services than declined, and a large majority have sustained their strong performance. However, the pattern of improvement is still too variable. The challenge now is for all authorities to aspire to provide the highest level of services for all children and young people in their community.”
The inspectorate’s analysis found that nearly all of the local authorities that improved their services to “performing well” had improved the quality of universal services, such as childcare, primary and secondary schools and post-16 education provision. Some local authorities also achieved improvement in social care services including adoption and fostering, and in keeping children safe from harm.
In those cases where authorities had seen a decline in performance, there had often been unsuccessful attempts to narrow the achievement gap between vulnerable children and their peers.
Councillor David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people programme board, said: “It is most encouraging that despite the combined pressures of decreased central funding and increased demand for services the majority of councils are now rated as performing well or excellently. However, there is no room for complacency and councils will continue to work together and are constantly challenging each other to improve even further.
“Unfortunately, a small minority of councils are still rated as performing poorly, but all councils want to keep children as safe as possible and they will be working hard to improve their services. Councils are taking responsibility for their own improvement and the Local Government Association is developing a £10m funded programme specifically to ensure all councils are providing good services for our children and young people.”
Local authorities performing excellently:
Barnet, Buckinghamshire, Camden, City of London, Dorset, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hampshire, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lewisham, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Luton, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Somerset, North Tyneside, Oldham, Plymouth, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, Trafford, Wandsworth, Westminster, Wirral, York
Local authorities performing poorly:
Birmingham, Calderdale, Cheshire West and Cheshire, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Kent, Peterborough, Salford, Sandwell, Slough, Staffordshire, Torbay, Waltham Forest, West Sussex and Worcestershire.