Derby City Council is celebrating after the city was named as one of only three in the country to be rated ‘outstanding’ for its services for children and young people, following an inspection by Ofsted.
This means that children, young people and their families are more likely to get the support they need, when they need it, and face safer and more positive futures as a result.
Ofsted, the national organisation which regulates and inspects schools and children’s services across the country, has published its report, following an inspection in March.
Services were judged to be ‘outstanding’ in three out of four categories, including overall effectiveness.
The city council also earned the accolade for the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, and the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection.
It was rated ‘good’ for the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers.
The report highlights the progress made over the last five years, where the service’s practitioners have embraced a new model of working, which is commended as ‘a significant achievement’ during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns in 2020.
Although Derby continues to face challenges recruiting children’s social workers, which is a wider national issue, the report praises senior leaders for taking ‘creative action’ to sustain recruitment and retention of staff, meaning most social work caseloads remain manageable.
Andy Smith, the city council’s strategic director of people services, said: “Our staff are dedicated to seeking the best outcomes for Derby’s children and work incredibly hard in what is a challenging, but ultimately rewarding job.
“To be rated ‘outstanding’ is a real achievement and a testament to their passion and hard work.”
Councillor Evonne Williams, cabinet member for children, young people and skills, said: “I’m really proud of all staff at Derby City Council involved in services for children and young people.
“We’ve spent the last couple of years working so hard to change the way they work with children and their families.
“Our staff are knowledgeable, experienced, and they’ve been fantastic.
“They listen to what young people need and want and they’re really good at making sure our children and young people are safe in our city.
“We will be right behind our staff as we continue to improve our services.”
Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s national director for social care, said: “I would like to congratulate all Derby colleagues who contributed to this fantastic achievement.
“This outcome is testament to the hard work and determination of the leadership team, managers and frontline staff, the wider council and safeguarding partners.”