Redbridge Council’s children’s social care services have been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, putting the local authority among the top performers in the country.
Inspectors who visited the borough in April and May praised the council’s ‘exceptional leadership,’ which, they noted, promotes best practice and innovation. The report also recognised that highly effective practice is understood, embedded and recognised by Redbridge Council.
The report additionally stated that ‘Senior managers demonstrate relentless drive and ambition for children…leading to the provision of consistently strong and highly effective services for them.’
The council, which scored a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted in 2016, was judged ‘outstanding’ overall in a report published today, with child protection services and the quality of leadership also receiving the highest grade.
The result means Redbridge is one of the few authorities handed the top score under the new inspection framework.
Ofsted inspectors said that services had strengthened since the appointment of the current Director of People in 2016, adding that he is ‘supported by purposeful and informed political leaders and a stable and appropriately authoritative senior management team.’
Staff enjoy working at Redbridge and feel safe and well supported, the report added.
“This exemplary management has created conditions that afford workers the time, professional expertise and capacity to get to know children and young people well,’ the report went on. ‘This best practice secures positive experiences and good progress for children.’
The regulator found child protection services that were outstanding during the last inspection, including the ‘front door’, described as a model of efficiency and excellence, have been further enhanced ‘meaning that even the best services have improved.’
It also praised the council’s ability to address ‘emerging risks associated with gangs, county lines and exploitation’ and are ‘meeting these challenges well,’ taking ‘determined and proactive steps to improve outcomes for children.’
Children in care benefit from ‘thoughtful’ social workers who know them ‘exceptionally well,’ foster carers feel valued and listened to and provide ‘stable homes’ and care leavers receive good support into adulthood, the report says.
Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal commented: ‘I am delighted that Ofsted have rated our children’s services as ‘Outstanding’. I know how hard our Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Elaine Norman, and Council staff are working to provide the best services for our local young people and this work is clearly paying off.’
‘Despite losing 60 per cent of our council funding over the last decade, and being the lowest funded London borough for children’s services, I have always been determined that this administration will continue to deliver for residents. Ensuring our children and young people are properly provided for is our responsibility but it is also our privilege. I want to congratulate everyone involved in both devising and delivering an exemplary service.’
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Cllr Elaine Norman said: ‘I’m delighted we have achieved the highest possible rating from Ofsted. Determination, hard work and an exceptional ambition to improve, from our skilled and thoughtful practitioners through to the senior leadership team, has led to this result. I’d like to thank every one of them. For Ofsted to recognise the significant progress we have made and the excellence our services for the most vulnerable children in our borough makes me extremely proud.”
Read the full report here