Ofsted have rated children’s services at Rotherham Council as ‘good’ in their latest report published today. The report, which followed a recent inspection by Ofsted in November 2017, also rates elements within the service as ‘outstanding’ as well. This is a major achievement for the local authority and the borough with significant improvement achieved after being rated ‘inadequate’ only in late 2014.
Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council, has said: “Three years ago we let the children of Rotherham down, and we are truly sorry for that. We pledged to use the Ofsted report to examine and improve culture and practice across the organisation and this new report hopefully shows we have done just that.
My thanks go to staff here at the Council and our partners who have helped us to achieve this rating. It would not have been possible without you.”
Cllr Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham Council, has also said: “Over the last three years we have made improving our children’s services and better protecting our most vulnerable children our top priority.
Today’s report from Ofsted is recognition of the enormous progress that has been made, and is a credit to all our staff and partner organisations that have made it happen.The validation of our work to transform our response to child sexual exploitation underscores how far we have come. Going forward we will continue to learn, to improve, and to challenge ourselves to keep doing better for Rotherham’s children.”
The rating by Ofsted marks an incredible turnaround in services for children and families at Rotherham Council. The report also focuses on the improvement made in the management and senior leadership of children’s services in Rotherham, stating that:
Senior leaders and managers in Rotherham have made significant progress and transformed children’s services since they were judged inadequate overall at the last inspection in 2014. Strengthened governance structures, with a new senior leadership team and new political members, ensure an openness to learning and transparent decision-making across the service, increasing accountability. Children’s services are a priority for the council and are well supported by increased corporate financial investment to improve outcomes for children.
The role of scrutiny at the Council by Councillors and others overlooking these services is also praised for improvement, with Ofsted describing that there is now “clear lines of accountability and robust governance arrangements” which “demonstrate that safeguarding is a council priority, and effectively hold senior managers to account.”
Cllr Gordon Watson, as the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, is described by Ofsted as a “positive advocate for children and young people. He is highly active in understanding and improving outcomes for children and young people.”
It is a remarkable transformation for children’s services in Rotherham and one that has been recognised by Ofsted in their report today. Following the Jay Report in 2014, these services were judged to be failing in most areas at the Council and rated as ‘inadequate’. The rating published today now ranks these services as ‘good’ with areas at ‘outstanding’ and represents a major turnaround in services at Rotherham Council in a relatively short period of time.
You can read the full report by Ofsted into Rotherham Council on their website here.