Portsmouth City Council’s children’s services team has been rated as ‘good’ overall, following an inspection by Ofsted in May. The report published today (3 July) finds that most children in Portsmouth receive a good service, and for some, it is outstanding.
The team from Ofsted focused on four areas during the visit and in the report – the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families; the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection; the experiences and progress of children in care; and the experiences and progress of care leavers.
Early help and family safeguarding stand out in the report as areas of strong practice, delivering excellent experiences and progress for children.
Ofsted found the support given to children who need help and protection to be outstanding, highlighting impressive early help services and the skilled and specialist help available to children, including those with complex needs. The report finds that ‘children’s circumstances are improved, and parents and carers empowered and enabled to parent with more confidence’.
Ofsted’s team found that senior leaders in the council champion the needs of children, families and young people. Supporting children and young people to reach their potential in education and employment has been an area of focus for leaders and managers and Ofsted reported that children are actively encouraged to share their views and be involved in issues that matter to them.
The experiences and progress of care leavers was identified as an area that needs improvement to be good. Ofsted found that many care-experienced young people do make good progress in many aspects of their lives and receive high-quality support from committed and caring personal advisers, but that services for care-experienced young people are less well developed than in other areas of children’s services.
However, the report reflects that the council is committed to the ongoing improvement of services for children and families and that the council has a clearly defined improvement plan in place.
Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Our principle is that that the children we care for deserve the same standard of care, love and support that any good parent would want for their child. We hold high aspirations for the children and young people we care for and take our responsibility to support and champion young people very seriously. This is reflected in Ofsted’s conclusions and I am particularly pleased to see the report highlight how we successfully prioritise children’s well-being and make a positive difference to children’s lives. The dedication and expertise of staff is commended throughout the report.
“We are committed to making sure that children who come into our care, children we care for and young people who are care experienced are set up for life. As the report acknowledges, we are already working hard to address areas identified as needing improvement, so we can meet the same high standards achieved across Portsmouth’s children’s services.”
The report sets out some of the steps already being taken to help improve the number of care-experienced children in education, employment and training, such as the development of an employment academy to create more work and apprenticeship opportunities for care-experienced young people in the city so they can achieve their full potential.