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A national director for government watchdog Ofsted has written personally to Dudley Council bosses offering congratulations following its recent inspection.
The local authority was recognised as having made “significant” progress since its children’s social care services were last rated as inadequate in April 2016.
It was rated “good” in two of the three categories it was inspected in following an 11-day visit in October and November. The overall result was “requires improvement to be good”.
Now Yvette Stanley, national director for social care at Ofsted, has written to the council’s strategic director for people, Martin Samuels, to hail the progress made by the authority.
The letter says: “I am writing to personally congratulate you on the outcome of your inspection which saw Dudley move out of the inadequate rating.
“This is a significant achievement and one which I wanted to acknowledge today.
“This outcome is testimony to your hard work and tenacity, as well as that of the leadership team, managers and frontline staff, the wider council and your safeguarding partners.
“I know you will be already concentrating on the next stages of your improvement journey.
“Please pass on my congratulations to all Dudley colleagues who have contributed to this achievement, as well as extending my thanks to all the staff, children, foster carers and wider stakeholders who participated in the inspection process.”
Councillor Sue Ridney, cabinet member for children’s services, said:
It is highly unusual to receive a letter like this from Ofsted – we are thinking of framing it!
In all seriousness, it is a lovely gesture from one of the most senior figures at Ofsted and very much appreciated.
It recognises the hard work that has gone on across the board to get to where we are now.
It is just a start, of course, but it will give us motivation to continue on our improvement journey as we strive to become an ‘outstanding’ authority for the children in our borough.”
The report said areas of service which had been identified as “inadequate” in the previous inspection have been “turned around” and “now deliver better quality and more focused and child-centred practice”.
That in turn has led to “better long-term outcomes” for children in care, inspectors said.
The report said children and families benefited from an “effective early help service” which worked to stop youngsters being taken into care. Inspectors said the risks to children were recognised and “effective action” was taken to minimise that risk.
The full report is available at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/332.