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Kent’s children’s safeguarding services upgraded to ‘adequate’ by Ofsted

Inspection acknowledges efforts made by authority

Children's safeguarding services in Kent have been upgraded by Ofsted from 'inadequate' to 'adequate'. Ofsted's report can be accessed from this webpage.

Ofsted inspectors spent eight days with staff, parents and children around Kent and found that the council's children safeguarding services have greatly improved and are now judged 'adequate'.

The new Ofsted inspection framework means a third of local authorities judged under the new regime have been found to be 'inadequate' but inspectors have recognised Kent has worked to raise standards above this threshold. KCC has now been judged 'adequate', defined by Ofsted as 'a service that is doing what is required to keep children and young people safe'.

Following the report in 2010, an improvement steering group was immediately set up to drive through the changes needed to tackle the weaknesses. Inspectors recognised that elected leaders and senior managers at the council have "consistently given a high level of strategic priority to protecting and improving services to Kent's most vulnerable children".

Ofsted acknowledge the huge effort that has been made and in a meeting with staff, and inspectors recognised KCC had not 'sat back' but had been committed to dealing with weaknesses in safeguarding.

Key improvements recognised by Ofsted include:

During the inspection, a random sample of around 200 children found no children who were 'left at risk of, or suffering from, significant harm'.

Areas needing improvement include getting the right help for children who are not at risk but who need extra help and more detailed and measurable plans are required for children in need.

Inspectors also said it was important to make sure social workers do not stop help for children too early and that managers need to get better at checking the quality of work done by staff and give them regular feedback. The inspection also said the Kent Safeguarding Children Board was addressing weaknesses and improving the way its partners work together.

The latest Ofsted report and earlier reports relating to Kent can be accessed here.