Inspectors have acknowledged improvements to Children’s Services in St Helens in a new report.
An updated report on the progress made after the council received an inadequate rating for children’s services by Ofsted back in 2019 highlighted that a number of improvements had been made including reducing the number of children in the council’s care, caseloads for social workers remaining consistent and increasing and fulfilling case audit figures.
As part of the report it details the latest feedback from independent chair of the St Helens Child Improvement Board Linda Clegg who describes the workforce as the council’s strongest asset.
It also recognises the work to safely reduce the number of children the council cares for through a number of measures that have seen the numbers drop by 13.4 per cent in the past year. School support is also recognised as a first-class service from St Helens Borough Council.
As part of continual assessment it noted that the council was now conducting 40 case audits a month to review the standard of work and while there were still some inconsistency in those cases there was overall sign of improvement in the standard of work being done across the service.
The report also sets out the next steps for the council to continue on its improvement journey including greater integration for early help support for families.
Councillor Nova Charlton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Our journey of improvement continues and we thank Ofsted and Linda Clegg for their feedback on our current progress. Our entire organisation plays a role in transforming the way that we work but in particular the Children’s Services team who are doing a fantastic job not only dealing with the impact of a pandemic but also in supporting our transformation and it’s right that they are recognised as our biggest asset.
“We also recognise that there is much still to do to make sure that our children’s service is good but with a senior leadership team now heavily embedded and supporting the work we are confident that the improvement will continue. We have had a range of new policies to support our children’s services which have been approved such as the commitment to create new homes for children in our care in the borough and respite care for young people too. Measures such as these will help us to support families and young people in need of our help and give our children every opportunity to have the best start in life.”