Hull City Council has promised to ‘accelerate’ its improvement plans and invest an extra £2m into its children’s services after they were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
The local authority has been undergoing what it characterises as a ‘major transformation programme’ over the last two years after a 2015 Ofsted report concluded that the council’s children’s services ‘required improvement’.
However, despite improvements under this programme, an Ofsted inspection in January found that Hull council’s children’s services are ‘inadequate’. It also warned that the council had ‘failed to deliver the improvements needed, specifically to children’s circumstances and experiences.’
The inspectors concluded that the impact of leaders on social work practice required improvement before it could be rated as ‘good’. The same conclusion was reached when it came to the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers.
The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection was rated ‘inadequate’.
The Ofsted report acknowledged that the council has strengthened ‘some important aspects of leadership’ since the 2015 inspection.
The report concluded, however, that ‘the actions that leaders have taken have not sufficiently addressed the weaknesses in frontline practice and management oversight, in particular for children in need of help and protection.’
Cllr Stephen Brady, leader of Hull City Council, said that he was ‘very disappointed’ by the findings of the inspection.
‘We understand that significant improvements need to be made and are giving this our absolute focus,’ he said.
‘Working closely with Ofsted and the Department for Education, we will ensure that the necessary improvements are made quickly so that the services we provide to our children and their families are of the highest standards.’
Cllr Brady said that the council has injected an additional £13m per year into children’s services over the last three years. He also said that the council would invest a further £2m this year.
Alison Murphy, director of Children’s Young People and Family Services, said: ‘We have made significant strides since the inspection and the conditions for further rapid improvement are in place.
‘Our top priority now is to continue to improve the quality of social work practice with a tireless focus on improving outcomes for vulnerable children in the city.
‘Our teams want to deliver the best possible services for children and families in Hull and are working extremely hard to deliver the necessary improvements. We are absolutely dedicated to building on the improvements already benefiting children and young people in the city.’