Child protection in West Sussex has been rated as adequate by inspectors, four years after it was first identified as performing poorly.
West Sussex has been issued with two improvement notices in relation to child protection in recent years. Image: Alex Deverill
West Sussex County Council was first issued with an improvement notice around child protection issues in March 2009.
This was followed with a further improvement notice in March 2011 after an Ofsted safeguarding and looked-after children inspection.
However, the authority’s latest inspection has identified improvements and deemed the council’s overall effectiveness as adequate.
“This inspection has not identified any systemic failures that have resulted in children failing to be protected,” the report said.
“The council has a clear improvement plan to address recommendations from the 2010 safeguarding and looked-after children inspection, and accelerate its existing children’s delivery programme.
“The leader of the council has ensured that the highest priority has been given to the improvement plan, which continues to be subject to rigorous internal and external scrutiny.”
However, the report said a number of improvements must be made. It highlighted variability in the quality of assessments, recording of some Section 47 enquiries and the effectiveness of planning as areas to be addressed.
A council spokesman said it has sent a report about the inspection to the Department for Education in the hope that the authority will now come out of intervention.
If this is the case, the government-appointed improvement board that has been overseeing West Sussex’s child protection work will disband.
Conservative councillor Peter Evans, the lead member for children and families at West Sussex, said: “Following the last disappointing inspection, I’m pleased to say that officers and members alike have worked extremely hard to raise our game and, as a result, it is pleasing to note that we are making progress and have been ranked as adequate.
“It is even more pleasing when you consider that Ofsted recently changed its inspection process, which is now recognised as being much more rigorous with a much higher bar, and so even more difficult to achieve a higher ranking.”
He added: “We recognise there is still a long way to go, and we will not be resting on our laurels. We want to continue to improve, and our improvement plan and the measures put in place reflect that.”
- Joint area reviews: West Sussex gets positive review
- YOUNG OFFENDERS: Initiative covers graffiti with art
- Ofsted finds poor safeguarding services in Cheshire West and Chester, and West Sussex
- Inspection: First Joint Area Review praises West Sussex youth services
- Youth offending team makes ‘significant progress’
- Childminders urge commission to retain individual Ofsted inspections
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now