Ofsted inspectors come to Wakefield
Wakefield Council is preparing to welcome Ofsted inspectors today (4 June).
A standard Ofsted inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services – which covers the whole range of services Wakefield Council provides for children and young people - will take place over a two-week period.
The last full Ofsted inspection of children’s services was in July 2016 and rated the service as ‘requiring improvement’. In February 2018, Ofsted inspectors carried out a focussed visit that looked at the arrangements for the ‘front door’. This visit acknowledged that Wakefield Council was taking positive steps to make improvements but inspectors wanted to see an increase in pace. It also highlighted ‘significant weaknesses’ in some areas of this particular service.
Beate Wagner, Corporate Director for Children and Young People said: "We are working very hard to deliver improvements as quickly as possible and we know that children will benefit from the additional management, social work and admin capacity we have already put in place. We also know that it is early days for some of the improvements we are making and expect Ofsted to acknowledge this.
"The inspection of the directorate will be thorough and in-depth and everyone involved will treat it as an opportunity to further support our improvement journey.
"We face significant challenges in some areas and will share the actions we are taking to address these concerns. The inspection also gives us the chance to demonstrate the changes we have made and showcase some of the great work that our dedicated teams deliver.
"We must be - and are - always ready and willing to be held to account, so that we can learn and improve. Ensuring our children and young people are happy, healthy and safe is an absolute priority for this council and we are determined to do everything possible to make this happen."
This year has seen fundamental changes at the very top of children's services. In March, Wakefield Council's Chief Executive, Merran McRae, who joined the Council in June 2017, appointed Beate Wagner as the Corporate Director for Children and Young People. A new Service Director for Children's Social Care is due to join the council in early August 2018.
The Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Peter Box CBE brought in new political leadership to help support the transformation of the Children and Young People Service. Cllr Margaret Isherwood took on the role to give fresh political challenge and a renewed focus for improvement. Cllr Box also allocated £1million to drive the transformation action plan and invested an extra £3.5 million into the service's annual base budget.
The findings of the inspection are expected to be published in July.