William Eichler 03 March 2020

Council first outside London to transform flagging children’s services to ‘outstanding’

Council first outside London to transform flagging children’s services to ‘outstanding’ image

A Midlands council has become the first outside of London to transform children’s services from ‘requires improvement to be good’ to ‘outstanding’.

The landmark rating of Telford & Wrekin Council’s children’s services follows a rigorous three-week inspection by Ofsted during January.

‘I am absolutely delighted that our teams have secured an outstanding judgement from Ofsted,’ said Cllr Shaun Davies.

‘This really is a remarkable result for our teams, our social workers, the community and children and young people of Telford and Wrekin.’

Commenting on the council’s children’s services, Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsted’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: ‘Corporate parenting is exceptionally strong. Children are cared for and they are cared about.’

The council’s last inspection was four years ago.

After Ofsted’s ‘requires improvement to be good’ rating, the council took a number of measures, including re-investing money raised through commercial enterprises and its solar farm into its children’s services.

‘Being judged outstanding puts us in the top performing councils in the UK and supports our approach and I am very proud of all the staff who have worked so hard to achieve this,’ said Cllr Davies.

He said Telford & Wrekin Council had been ‘ruthless’ in improving its services, but stressed they would not rest on laurels.

‘We are ambitious and aspirational for the future and we want to further build on our outstanding and nationally recognised practice.’

The only other council that has made the jump from ‘requires improvement to be good’ to ‘outstanding’ is Bexley, making Telford & Wrekin Council the only authority outside of London to make that leap.

Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Children and Young People and Education, commented: ‘This is an astonishing achievement and one that we can be extremely proud of.’

Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsted’s regional director for the West Midlands, commented: ‘Children in Telford and Wrekin benefit from high quality social work and an impressive range of specialist services that improve their well-being and help to protect them from harm.

‘Children are valued and receive child-focused services tailored to their individual needs. Children are listened to and their experiences are well understood and inform planning to improve their lives.’

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