“WE ACCEPT we need to be better and I’m glad Ofsted agree that we’ve got the foundations in place to achieve this.”
Those are the words of Solihull Council leader Bob Sleigh following an Ofsted report on the borough’s children’s services which rated the authority as ‘requiring improvement’.
The report marked the council in three key areas – children achieving permanence, leadership management and governance and children who need help and protection.
Despite singing praise for the adoption services in Solihull, Ofsted inspectors found fault with the other areas of the services – including an insufficient supply of foster families, delayed cases and unclear plans put in place for children in care.
The report outlined a number of vulnerable children are all too often pushed from pillar to post and put in contact with a long-list of social workers.
The inspectors also found issues with the way the individual cases are dealt with and the lack of urgency to deal with problems quickly.
They did, however, find that vulnerable children, young people and families are safe and are being supported.
The Council welcomed the report as a means of helping Children’s Services improve and ensure there is greater consistency across the service as a whole.
Coun Sleigh added: “We are glad that Ofsted has recognised that our vulnerable children, young people and families are safe and are being supported.
“Our focus over the coming weeks and months will be to address the weaknesses they have identified.
Leader of the Green Party, Coun James Burn said the report shows there is some great work going on in Solihull, but more needs to be done.
He added: “We need to develop a greater sense of urgency and stop vulnerable children getting lost in the system.
“We also need to free social workers up to move away from ticking boxes so they can focus on doing the things that make children’s lives better.”
“However, good progress is being made and the report highlighted a number of positive changes since the care services were restructured last year.”