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Plans for positive changes in children’s services

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Children’s services bosses have vowed to bring in more permanent senior staff and make better use of ICT as the authority presses ahead with a major improvement plan.

Dudley Council’s children’s services department has been developing its plan to review and radically overhaul the way services are delivered across Dudley borough prior to a recent visit from Ofsted.

It includes recruiting senior staff and improvements in the use of ICT, both of which are well under way.

The council has regular monitoring visits from the regulator since its children’s services section was rated inadequate back in 2016. Since then inspectors have carried out numerous visits and praised areas of progress and improvement and highlighted areas for further improvement.

In a report published today (November 27) following the most recent visit, which took place remotely in October, the inspectors once again highlighted areas where progress had been made but also found areas in need of significant improvement, which had already been identified and included within the authority’s improvement plan.

Inspectors also identified a number of weaknesses including more focus on strong leadership, greater consistency in how services are provided and the need to speed up the process of moving children from the care system into permanent homes.

Inspectors praised the progress made to services for disabled children since the last visit and found that “clear planning is leading to positive outcomes for these children.”

They also said the council’s response to the pandemic had been positive and “children have been seen and action taken, where necessary, to improve the lives of children.”

Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for children’s services, said:

There are positives to take from this most recent inspection, but it is clear there is more to do, and we are fully committed to bringing about changes to improve the lives and prospects of children and young people in our borough. This is, and will remain, the focus of everything we do.
Our robust improvement plan, which we have been working on prior to this most recent visit, picks up on a lot of the issues raised by the inspectors. It will be at the centre of our work and will provide the governance needed to highlight and address immediate, medium and long terms actions that we will take place in the weeks and months ahead.
We have already made significant strides such as appointing a new director for children’s service to bolster our leadership, as well as other senior members of staff. They will bring their expertise to lead our improvement plan, which will see us review and improve practices across the board.
We’ve also strengthened our relationship with schools and introduced a new Liquid Logic system. This is a piece of technology, which essentially allows us to work more efficiently and improve processes both within the council and with partners on how we deliver social care to children. This is a very important shift in the way we work.
Finally, my message to children, young people, parents, guardians and carers is that we do care. We know we need to do better and we will do better to ensure each and every child and young person in this borough has the best possible start in life.

Today's report can be found here -

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