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Ofsted Children's Services report 2016

The Ofsted report comes after an in-depth inspection of Children's Services in February and March 2016.

The report found that services for children in need of help and protection and those both in and leaving care 'require improvement to be good'.

Ofsted also inspected our services for children in need of help and protection, looked after children and care leavers, together with a separate parallel review of the Dorset Local Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB).

Report findings

The main inspection report finds that children's services in Dorset 'require improvement to be good'. 

In summary, Ofsted found that:

  • Dorset knows itself well; the inspection team recognised strong leadership
  • some planned improvements are already in place prior to the inspection under Forward Together for Children and other plans that are currently in progress
  • there's a mechanism in place to implement the recommendations from the inspection and to regularly review progress

Inspectors identified a number of positive aspects:

  • Ofsted didn't identify any children at immediate risk of significant harm
  • there were no cases where children were subject to child protection plans or in care where this appeared inappropriate
  • Dorset's Children's Services make things better for most children
  • Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) arrangements are sound, as are our out-of-hours services
  • adoption services are good
  • the use of legal proceedings in permanence planning is effective and timely

Review of the DSCB

In a separate review, the inspectors examined the effectiveness of the partnership-based DSCB and found it to be 'inadequate'.

They identified a number of significant issues from the review. Inspectors judged that the DSCB is inadequate because it's not monitoring the effectiveness of help being provided to families or providing sufficient challenge and leadership at a strategic level. 

The senior leadership team, Cabinet member and Chair of the DSCB are committed to being up-front, open and honest about Ofsted's findings, which show clear areas for improvement and recognise the the progress that we've already made on our improvement journey. 

See the full Ofsted report ** CTA button

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