Doncaster children's services making good progress says Ofsted chiefs

Doncaster's once-troubled children's services is making 'significant and continuing progress', according to inspectors.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 9:10 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:06 am
Doncaster Children's Trust Chief Executive Paul Moffat.

A letter from Ofsted published today reveals the improvements which are being made by the organisation which was taken out of council control in 2013 because of Government concerns over its failings. The service was later re-opened as a separate trust, Doncaster Children’s Trust, but was rated as inadequate two years ago by Ofsted. Inspectors have now told the Doncaster Children’s Trust chief executive, Paul Moffatt, that it is making significant improvement.

It follows its latest monitoring visit, which took place from February 28 to March 1 this year.

Mr Moffatt said: “We are not going to rest on our laurels here. We know we have still got a lot of work to do.”

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The letter stated: “Significant and continuing progress is evident in terms of the quality of services for children looked after since the single inspection. Thorough actions have been taken in response to the recommendations and have had positive impact. Children and young people are at the heart of strategic planning and operational work. In casework seen, the outcomes for children who are looked after are improving and good.

“The trust and the council are ambitious for children looked after.

“They know themselves well and effective performance management and quality assurance systems mean that good practice is recognised, practice deficits are identified promptly and actions are taken to address these.

“There has been some progress in relation to the education of children looked after as a result of strategic and operational developments. Further development is planned and required to evidence wider impact in this area.”

In his letter, Inspector Graham Reiter said based on evidence gathered during the visit, his team had identified many areas of strength and progress was evident in all areas where the need for improvements was identified.

He said the trust had developed a stable, well supported and permanent workforce with manageable caseloads.

Effective performance management means senior managers have a detailed understanding of the quality of work being carried out.

He added staff who spoke to inspectors were all positive about working for the trust and and felt well supported.

The trust runs services including fostering, adoption, children’s homes and child protection on behalf of Doncaster council.

It was set up after the local authority was stripped of its children’s services in 2013 after the Government deemed them to have a ‘legacy of failure’.

The Government began supervising children’s services in 2009 following the deaths of seven children in the borough through abuse or neglect over five years.

Less than a year later a serious case review found the attacks in Edlington in which two young boys were tortured by two brothers, aged 11 and 12, had been ‘preventable’.