Birmingham children’s services break long run of failure with Ofsted inspection

Children’s services in England’s biggest local authority have passed an Ofsted inspection for the first time in more than a decade.

Birmingham City Council’s children’s services, which have been delivered via a trust in 2018, had been rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted since 2010, and by the council’s own admission had been failing for longer.

landscape photography of cityscape by water

But its latest inspection, carried out in late February and early March, rated Birmingham’s children’s services as ‘good’ in all areas – a sharp contrast to the last inspection in late 2018, which found that they required improvement across the board.

‘Since the last inspection in 2018, much progress has been made by Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Trust in improving the experiences and outcomes of their children,’ said the new inspection report.

‘Children are now safeguarded through effective ‘front door’ arrangements, thorough child protection assessments and a strong response to safeguarding children at risk of exploitation. Children are supported at an early stage to remain in their families where possible. When intervention is required to protect children, it is proportionate to risk and need.’

The report praised the role of personal advisers and the council’s efforts to listen and engage with children in care, but warned that despite ‘significant’ investment, the response to domestic abuse was ‘not proportionate to demand’.

‘We are all delighted that today’s Ofsted report confirms the progress we have made, and the quality of practice provided by our fantastic team,’ said Andrew Christie, Chair of Birmingham Children’s Trust. ‘We know there is more to do, but the improvements are evident. Our work throughout has been shaped by the voices of children and young people in Birmingham.

‘We have worked incredibly hard to ensure that partnership working with Birmingham City Council, statutory and non-statutory partners has become one of our strengths, and i am so pleased that Ofsted acknowledge this as a major improvement.’

Sue Harrison, Director of Children’s Services at Birmingham City Council, said: ‘I’m really pleased to see Ofsted acknowledging the great and improved partnership work between the council and the trust and the positive impact this has had on families, particularly around our early help strategy. The report also notes the priority given to children in Birmingham by political leaders. Working together the trust and council are making a real difference to children’s lives and we will be relentless in ensuring these improvements are sustainable.’

Image: Zach Farmer


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