Hertfordshire County Council praised by Ofsted for its social work with children and families

Published: 19 Nov 2018

Hertfordshire County Council praised by Ofsted for its social work with children and families.

The county council’s children’s social care services received a rating of “outstanding” for the impact of leaders on its social working practices, with the overall effectiveness of the service rated as “good”.

The inspector’s report published today (Monday 19 November) praises the improvements made since the last inspection in 2015, which achieved an overall score of “good” – making great strides from its rating as “adequate” in 2013.

Early intervention is making a real difference to children’s and families’ lives and is helping to keep children and young people safe, contributing to a reduction in the volume of referrals to children’s social care.

Ofsted commended the strong senior leadership for being “restlessly ambitious for the children, young people and families who depend on them for help and protection, care and support”.

Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families, Councillor Teresa Heritage said: “I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised the outstanding work of our staff to improve the lives and outcomes of children, young people and their families.

“It is heartening to hear that recommendations made from the last inspection have been successfully addressed and that Hertfordshire has been praised for being a “good corporate parent”. We also recognise that our journey of improvement is an ongoing one and appreciate there is always further work to be done.”

Jenny Coles, Director of Children’s Services said: “This latest Ofsted report recognises the enormous strides we have continued to make in ensuring strong leadership, collaborative working and the provision of sensitive, skilled staff to support our young people and their families.

“It is especially encouraging for Ofsted to commend the consistent efforts made by managers, staff and elected members to demonstrate that children and young people in our care really matter. We look forward to continuing on this very positive journey of improvement.”

The inspectors cited the services’ strong track record and commitment to continuous improvement, openness and transparency, with children’s social care services continuing to be well led, managed and run.

Other areas of strength included the positive experiences and progress made by children needing help and protection, as well as those in care settings and care leavers, whose provision was deemed as “outstanding”.

Ofsted also highlighted the council’s mature and well developed approach to supporting families, ensuring they receive an appropriate level of help and support as soon as issues and concerns are first identified. This was demonstrated by the Families First Hub which provides an effective route into early intervention.

This was backed up by an effective consultation hub for professionals involving health visitors, GPs and head teachers which has been very well received, along with a multi-agency safeguarding hub.

The inspectors said: “The quality of partnership working, particularly in the multi-disciplinary family safeguarding teams, is a real strength. The presence in these teams of adult workers with a range of specialist skills, knowledge and experience, provides plenty of opportunities for joint working.”