Ofsted inspectors have recognised significant improvements to children’s services in Manchester. They ruled that Manchester’s services are no longer ‘inadequate.’
They conducted a rigorous re-inspection in autumn 2017 which followed on from their last full inspection published in September 2014. That previous inspection had classed services as ‘inadequate’ citing concerns about social worker caseloads. They also found delays in the assessments of children potentially at risk and the quality of management oversight.
Manchester City Council and partner agencies acknowledged the shortcomings and produced a comprehensive improvement plan. They invested in improvements including more frontline social workers to reduce caseloads and ensured more timely assessments.
An extra 86 social workers and 14 managers have been recruited. The new inspection has concluded that this sustained action has made a positive and widespread difference.
The Ofsted report says: “Inspectors saw good evidence of improvement across all service areas. Strong leadership, an ambitious and well-articulated vision…and robust governance arrangements are leading to improved outcomes for children and young people in need of protection”.
Ofsted’s overall verdict was that children’s services in Manchester ‘require improvement to be good’. This is a step up from ‘inadequate’ with ‘good’ as the next category to aim for.
Ofsted classed both Leadership, Management and Governance and Adoption Performance as good. It is a considerable improvement from ‘inadequate’ for both categories in the previous inspection.
Pleased with the report, Councillor Sheila Newman, Executive Member for Children’s Services for Manchester City Council, released a statement. “This endorsement is the result of commitment, focus and sheer hard work by everyone involved in this process – from senior officers and members to frontline staff.
“She added that the result is a cause for “satisfaction but not celebration. This is not the end of our improvement journey and there is absolutely no room for complacency”.