Headlines: December 10th, 2010

Ofsted’s performance assessment of children’s services found that one third were not performing well. The finding applies to childcare, schools, child protection services and safeguarding, children’s social care and provision in the
learning and skills sector.

The assessments, based on Ofsted inspections, show that 20 councils are providing excellent services, double the number for the previous year. In addition, 77 councils are performing well, but 49 councils were rated as adequate or poor.

Judgements draw on the outcomes of direct observation of professional practice. Ofsted uses the findings of the inspection and regulation reports of the full range of services, for which local authorities have some responsibility, either alone or in partnership.

Where councils were found to be performing poorly it was primarily because they are not doing enough to keep children safe. Inadequacies have been identified in their approach to safeguarding children. These authorities recognise where improvements are needed and have plans in place to improve.

Commenting on the ratings, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said: “Once again the majority of councils are providing services for children and young people that are good or better. It is very pleasing to see the increase in the number of local authorities that are providing excellent services overall. It is particularly welcome that examples of excellence can be found up and down the country and in all types of local authority, from rural areas to metropolitan centres. These authorities are to be congratulated for the work they are doing to ensure children and young people in their area get the best possible start in life.”
Ministers have announced that the annual return will be scrapped because of concern that it adds little to the understanding of children’s services in an area over and above the individual inspections that underlie it.