Ofsted confirms that Suffolk County Council’s Children’s Services are ‘Outstanding’

Ofsted confirms that Suffolk County Council’s Children’s Services are ‘Outstanding’

On 21 May, it was announced that Ofsted inspectors have awarded Children’s Services at Suffolk County Council the top grade of ‘Outstanding' following their visit in April 2019. Only eight other Local Authorities, out of 152, have been judged to be ‘Outstanding’ overall.

Ofsted’s inspection report of children’s social care services said:

“Services for children are of an exceptionally high standard. They are child-focused and make a positive difference to children’s lives”.

Inspectors were impressed with improvements made across the service since it was rated ‘Good’ in 2015. The report states that, “stable and aspirational leadership and strong political and financial support have created conditions that are conductive to continuous improvement and the development of sustainable, high-quality services. Senior leaders have addressed the recommendations of the previous inspection. They have continued to attract new opportunities, develop practice and strengthen partnerships”.

Inspectors commended the staff, highlighting that “the work that staff are doing with children and young people is impressive; the way that they are doing it is making a real difference to their lives”. The report states that, "workers build positive and purposeful working relationships with children and their families. They ensure children are safeguarded, and that their wider needs are addressed. They consistently act to ensure the best outcomes for children”. Workforce management is also recognised by Ofsted as a strength.

Inspectors praised the ethos within the council’s children’s services, saying "the local authority consistently demonstrates, through its range of help and protection services, its commitment to supporting parents to bring up their children safely and successfully”.

Allan Cadzow, Corporate Director for Children and Young People at Suffolk County Council, said:

“We are over the moon to receive such a high rating from Ofsted. This really shines a light on the great work that our staff deliver, day in day out, often in difficult circumstances, to support the most vulnerable children and families in Suffolk.

“A rating of Outstanding puts Suffolk right up with the highest performing authorities in the country for children’s services. I am very proud that our passion, professionalism and commitment has been recognised and our staff should be rightfully proud of what they have achieved.  

“We work extremely hard to look after all our children in Suffolk and we are committed to delivering the highest quality service to ensure they benefit from the best support, care and education we can provide. We intend to get even better.”

Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills at Suffolk County Council said:

“An Outstanding Ofsted judgement for our Children’s Services is an amazing and well-deserved achievement for Suffolk. “I would like to thank everyone who delivers outstanding services to support young people in Suffolk, it is most rewarding to receive such endorsement from Ofsted. Our staff are compassionate, professional and sensitive to the needs of the residents they support.

“I do accept that we need to do more for Suffolk’s children with additional needs, and we are taking swift and effective action to address both the current shortfall of SEND services in our county, but also to build capacity with our partners for the future.

“All children have the right to the appropriate level of support they need to aspire and achieve, and I am committed to ensuring that this is the reality for all of Suffolk’s young people, including our most vulnerable children.”

Read the full Ofsted report (PDF).