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Vulnerable children in Suffolk get some of UK’s best support

PUBLISHED: 08:51 10 November 2017

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.

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Children’s services in Suffolk have been rated as among the best in the country by Ofsted.

Social work with children and families, and progress made by both children who need help and protection and looked-after children, were rated ‘good’ by the education inspectorate.

The overall rating of children’s social care services run by Suffolk County Council (SCC) was ‘good’, putting the authority in the top 25% of local authorities in England.

Ofsted carried out the pilot inspection in September. It follows the development of a new framework for future inspections of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS).

Lead inspector Nigel Parkes wrote: “Senior managers are astute, determined and clearly focused on children and young people. They understand the importance of getting the basics right but are not afraid to innovate. Among their successes are the strength of the early help offer, the successful implementation and continuing development of the multi-agency safeguarding hub and the roll-out of the local authority’s preferred social work model.”

He said SCC had acted on recommendations from the last inspection, particularly improving services for children who need help or protection.

He wrote: “Children and families benefit from a good range of early help services. This includes help for families affected by domestic abuse or substance misuse.

“When children are at immediate risk of significant harm, prompt action is taken to safeguard and protect them.”

But it added: “Children’s plans need to be clearer about the intended outcomes, and include specific actions and measurable timescales so that children, their families and the professionals involved with them know who needs to do what and by when.”

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills at SCC, said: “This achievement (‘good’ rating) reflects the hard work and determination of our dedicated staff, making a significant difference to the lives of children and young people. We are committed to delivering the best service for children and families. We have made considerable progress since the last inspection and we are determined to improve this rating even further going forward.”

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