Although there is more work to do I am delighted that West Sussex Children's Services has been rated as making significant progress.
As many may recall, WSCC’s children’s services were judged in 2019 to be “inadequate”. Since that time, WSCC has been working hard to improve the service.
Ofsted recently conducted an inspection of West Sussex County Council’s children’s social care services. Overall, Ofsted has judged WSCC’s children services to be “Requires Improvement” with “Good” sub judgements for the impact of leaders on practice with children and families, and the experiences and progress of children in care.
This is movement in the right direction - a fact which has been echoed by the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing who recognised the sustained effort to improve services and congratulated staff at all levels of WSCC and its partners who have contributed to this outcome.
There are, however, a number of areas for development identified in Ofsted’s report such as improving the consistency of practice to ensure good service delivery for all children. I am keen to see WSCC focus on improving this area.
As a result of the improvement, the Minister has agreed to lift the Statutory Direction issued to WSCC in 2022 and WSCC is no longer subject to statutory intervention.
WSCC will now enter a 12 month transition period from intervention during which the Minister and her officials will continue o monitor progress to remain assured of the sustainability of the improvements delivered so far, as well as progress in the areas for development identified by Ofsted.