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Progress underway for children’s services

Work prioritising improvements to Staffordshire children’s services is progressing quickly.

 

Changes at Staffordshire County Council are being introduced during the spring and summer following an Ofsted inspection in November 2023.

 

An additional £5 million was allocated towards a series of practical measures to boost oversight, increase support and reduce workloads.

 

Neelam Bhardwaja, the Director for Children and Families at Staffordshire County Council, said: “The Ofsted inspection praised provision for the children and young people in our care, but also identified what we could do better.

 

“We recognised there were improvements to be made both in supporting our front line staff in their day-to-day work and also by helping those who are leaving care to take their first steps in the adult world.”

 

After a decade of being rated as ‘Good’, an Ofsted inspection of children’s services published in January found that the service ‘required improvement to be good’.

 

Five months later a new report to councillors details the improvements being implemented this summer.

 

They include improving:

  • support with digital literacy, driving lessons, apprenticeships and access to suitable accommodation for those leaving care;
  • management monitoring and recording of staff supervision;
  • the updating of children’s plans in a timely way;
  • the random sampling of cases marked ‘no further action’.

Staffordshire County Council is currently supporting 5,042 children, of which 1,345 are in care, and has seen its budget rise by 152 per cent since 2009 to £146 million for 2024/25.

 

Neelam Bhardwaja said: “Our front line staff have been outstanding: it can be complex work in difficult circumstances but they make a difference on a daily basis.”

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