[A]ll services for children provided by Cumbria County Council have improved significantly, Ofsted inspectors conclude in their latest inspection report published today. As a result, the intensified monitoring of the council’s performance by the Department for Education will now end.
This follows a four week inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers that took place during November. In the report, the performance of the adoption service and the quality of the directorate’s leadership are both rated as good. The report finds that overall services require improvement.
There are four possible outcomes from an Ofsted inspection: inadequate, requires improvement, good and outstanding. A previous inspection in 2015 rated services as inadequate.
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said: “This is a significant and positive step forward and reflects a huge amount of hard work since our last inspection. We know more work needs to be done; we want our services to be consistently good across the county and it is encouraging that we are already achieving that with our adoption and leadership performance.
“We are clear about what we need to do to now to take all our services to the next level, and I’m confident, given the progress so far, that we will achieve this. We are committed to ensuring the best possible outcomes for all of Cumbria’s children and young people.”
John Macilwraith, Corporate Director for Children and Family Services, said: “This is a welcome report that highlights the progress we’ve made. It is difficult to ‘turn around’ a service that has not been performing and this judgement reflects a huge change in our performance and our culture. This is a different service now.
“As inspectors note in their report, we have a clear understanding of the areas that require further development to be good and we are already taking action. I am committed to ensuring all our services are, at least, of a ‘good’ standard for the children of Cumbria, and I know all my colleagues, and our partners, share that commitment. We now have a platform to build on and I am confident that our positive progress will continue.”
Inspectors make ten recommendations for action in their report which the directorate is already working to address.
The full report can be found at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/cumbria