AN Ofsted Focused Visit has found that “children’s social care have strengthened oversight of services for children at risk of extra-familial harm in response to feedback from the 2019 Inspection, to better identify and engage with children exposed to extra-familial harm and improved the offer of support to them and their families” in their report published today (Monday, 9 August).
The focused visit is part of the inspection of local authority children’s services (ILACS) framework. Authorities such as Thurrock Council, whose Children’s Services are rated as ‘good’, will usually receive one focused visit between three yearly full inspections. The Ofsted letter overall recognises the continued improvements in services offered to these vulnerable children. As with any inspection of services, there are recommended actions, to continue to improve services from the Good baseline. These recommendations will be included in development plans to continually improve the service.
Cllr Barry Johnson, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “It is extremely reassuring that the inspectors that carried out this focused visit agree we are providing an effective services which protects vulnerable children from the risks they can face outside the family home.
“Vulnerable children can be exploited by gangs, so-called ‘friends’ and other unscrupulous people they come into contact with. It is an exceptionally complex issue which can have a devastating impact on young people and their families.
“It is especially pleasing to see that the inspectors recognised the priority given to protecting young people across the council and the excellent partnership work taking place to help meet their needs and manage the risks they face.
“There are some recommendations for improvement, as is always the case following an Ofsted visit or inspection. We have recently created the Hidden and Extreme Harms Prevention Committee which will deal with many of those points raised in the report.
“However, it is important to remember that the report is overwhelmingly positive and demonstrates that our team is doing good work in protecting young people from the risks of extra-familial harm.”
The focused visit took place on 30 June and 1 July 2021 and the report can be found at: https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50167523