Independent national inspectors have praised the high quality of services to safeguard children in York and support young people who are in the council’s care.
Inspectors from Ofsted carried out a two-week inspection in March to assess how the council and its partner organisations, ensure that children and young people are safe from harm and to evaluate the quality of care and support for looked after children and care leavers.
Their report, which is available on www.ofsted.gov.uk/ (14 May), describes how safeguarding requirements are not only met in York but are often exceeded, with no child being found to be at risk of significant harm during the inspection.
Visible, child-centred and effective leadership by senior managers was described as ‘sustaining’ and further improving already good outcomes.
York scores higher in almost every service area than other similar authorities, and councils across the country, and Ofsted described the quality of strategic and operational partnership working in York as exceptional.
The report highlights how the council has created and sustained excellent partnerships at all levels so that there is a high degree of shared ownership of York’s vulnerable children. It also highlights the council’s excellent track record of identifying areas for improvement and using the expertise of all partners to tackle the improving the lives of children and young people.
The inspectors also assessed local partnership working as ‘outstanding’.
All the children and young people looked after by the council who were spoken to during the inspection reported a consistently high level of satisfaction with their placements, saying they felt very well cared for by committed and loving foster carers or very well supported in their move to independence. All felt safe in their placements and in the community and even parents seen during the inspection strongly appreciated the support they and their children received.
The inspectors described great confidence in the council and its partners and their ability to respond positively to the relatively small number of recommendations arising from the inspection. Taken together all these factors they believe result in an excellent capacity for still further improvement.
Cllr Janet Looker, Cabinet member for Education, Children and Young People’s Services, said: “This outstanding assessment is testament to the hard work and dedication not just of teams across the council, but of our partners across the city as well. We remain committed to ensuring that every child and young person in York is able to access the life chances they want and deserve. Working together, we really can make our city one of the best places in the country for children and young people to grow up.”
Pete Dwyer, Director of Adults, Children and Education, City of York Council, said: “Increasingly, and correctly, Ofsted are absolutely focused on the difference that local services make and the impact on real lives that we collectively make. Gone are the days when it was about having the right procedures and policies in place.
“This remarkably strong endorsement of our local partnership working maintains our reputation as one of the very best children and young people’s services in the country. I am grateful for the hard work and commitment of staff at all levels across all services. The report reminds us again of the difference they truly make”.