Children services Ofsted inspection report
Our children’s services have been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted following an inspection in May, making Kent one of the best-performing councils in the country.
The Ofsted report, published on 5 July 2022, records the top score in 3 of the 4 categories and “good” in the fourth, with the overall effectiveness in providing children’s services as “outstanding”.
Findings from the inspection
Ofsted found that children are at the centre of our culture and practice, where they are supported and cared for by an experienced and skilled workforce who listen and respond to their views and feelings.
Inspectors found that when families need help with the care of their children, or if there are concerns about the safety of a child, they get a swift response and good help and support from children’s social care services. They also commended staff on the way they worked with family members and friends to help them support children and young people to stay with their own families.
Workers from the early help and social work teams were praised for the time they spend in getting to know the children and young people they work with and for trying to understand the difficulties they and their parents are facing to come up with a good plan to support them.
Ofsted praised the “outstanding practice” for children in care and young people leaving care, who “clearly benefit from the support they receive and make good progress.”
It recognised that Kent children’s services have faced considerable additional pressures brought by the pandemic, rising caseloads and needing to care for and protect the “unparalleled numbers” of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving in the county. The report states that “senior leaders and frontline staff have responded well to these exceptional circumstances” and praised us for continuing to improve children’s services during the pandemic.
Ofsted also reported that all staff they spoke to were “rightly proud of the work they do and proud of the progress they make with children and families to improve their situations,” and “love working for Kent”.
Ofsted praised our political leadership for their commitment to championing and protecting children, which is backed by “sound financial investment”. They commented that “the director of children’s services and his senior management team, the lead member for children’s services and the head of paid services keep themselves well appraised of key challenges and service issues, exercising appropriate oversight and scrutiny.”
They went on to say that the council “promotes corporate problem-solving and shared responsibility for its services.”
Results of the inspection
Ofsted inspectors visited Kent’s children’s services in May this year. They scored our children’s services against 4 judgements:
- The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families – Outstanding
- The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection – Good
- The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers – Outstanding
- Overall effectiveness - Outstanding
The Ofsted report also found that senior leaders took effective action in the areas identified at the last inspection in 2017, with progress “evident in all the areas identified for improvement”. The report also stated that senior leaders “have also taken the required steps to make improvements in the areas identified at the focused visit in 2019, strengthening the responses to children at the ‘front door’ of their services and ensuring children are quickly directed to the most appropriate services.”