An inspection of Dorset Local Authority Children's Services took place from 27 September 2021 to 8 October 2021.
Read the letter the inspectors produced about the inspection for children and young people in Dorset.
This was the first full inspection of all Dorset children's services since the start of the new Dorset Council Unitary Authority in April 2019.
The last full inspection of all services for children in Dorset was undertaken in 2016 and through Dorset's predecessor council, Dorset County Council.
Areas for inspection
Inspectors were on site in Dorset Council offices for 2 weeks to undertake an extensive and thorough review of:
- overall effectiveness
- the experiences and progress of children in need of help and protection
- the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers
- the impact leaders on social work practice with children and families
The Inspection of Local Authority Children's Services is a graded inspection. Inspectors make their graded judgements on a 4 point scale:
- requires improvement to be good
Ofsted judgement for Dorset Children's Services
Ofsted have judged Dorset Children's Services as follows:
- overall effectiveness: good
- the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection: good
- the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers: good
- the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families: outstanding
Ofsted have determined services for children and families in Dorset are of good quality and are continuing to improve, finding that senior leadership has a proven determination to give every child in Dorset a brighter future.
The inspectors have acknowledged the strong political and corporate commitment to improvement, the pride that staff take in their work and that good work is expected, delivered and celebrated.
Inspectors have noted the scaffolding for further improvement is firmly in place.
Area for improvement
Ofsted identified one area for improvement in this inspection: oversight of arrangements when care leavers move in and out of emergency or temporary accommodation.
We're already incorporating this area for improvement and wider learning from this inspection into a new plan. This new plan will support the partnership in its next phase to deliver excellence for children and families in Dorset.