Ofsted reports "sustainable progress" in children and young people's safeguarding and support services
Children's services across the East Riding are continuing to improve, according to Ofsted inspectors.
In a letter to East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Ofsted inspectors said they found that sustainable progress had been made in all areas which were identified for improvement in the 2019 inspection which had rated children and young people's safeguarding and support services as inadequate.
This was the third monitoring visit carried out by Ofsted since 2019 and despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic inspectors said "senior leaders know their services well" and they are "clear on where improvements have been made".
The commitment of the council through additional investment was acknowledged to have supported senior leaders to continue to effectively implement the improvement plan with a methodical approach taken to improve performance management and quality assurance systems.
Ofsted reported that children in residential placements are making "good progress" while access to a wide variety of training and development opportunities is influencing social work with children and families.
One area where inspectors highlighted "significant" improvement was private fostering which, as a result, supported children to "live with carers who meet their needs".
They said: "Local authority oversight of children subject to private fostering arrangements is strong and has significantly improved. Children are seen regularly and consistent visits by the same worker has allowed meaningful relationships to be formed'.
During the visit, which took place last month, inspectors also spoke with several foster carers who were overwhelmingly positive about the support offered during the pandemic and inspectors noted: "foster carers have access to an impressively wide range of training opportunities which are co-ordinated and overseen by the fostering service and training officers".
Inspectors also recognised the impact of the social worker recruitment and retention challenge faced by the service, which is not an issue unique to the East Riding, but they were assured that "senior leaders were aware and are addressing".
Councillor Victoria Aitken, portfolio holder for children and young people's education, health and wellbeing at East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: "As a council, we are pleased with the progress of the improvement work across our children's services.
"This Ofsted monitoring visit confirms that we are travelling in the right direction and while, we are not complacent, there is still further work to do but we are pleased of what has been achieved so far.
"The commitment of our children's workforce continues to drive our effort to deliver good services for children and to have achieved so much while working within the challenges created through the COVID pandemic gives us confidence."