‘Strong strategic partnerships’ help boost services

Strong strategic partnerships have helped turn around children’s services in Torbay, a leading councillor has said.

Torbay Council’s children’s services have ‘significantly improved’ and are now rated as Good, following a recent Ofsted inspection.

Cllr Cordelia Law, Torbay Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We are thrilled that we are now achieving good outcomes for children and young people in Torbay.

“However, we will not rest on our laurels. We will continue to build on these successful foundations to make further improvements across all our services, such as driving up the quality of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

“With strong strategic partnerships and effective communication channels in place, we will continue to work hard to build a Torbay where all children can thrive.”

Ofsted have judged Torbay Council as ‘Good’ in all four areas of inspection

  • The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families.
  • The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection.
  • The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers.
  • Overall effectiveness.

After receiving an ‘Inadequate’ rating following the last two inspections and years of underperforming historically, the report acknowledges the “remarkable transformation”. Inspectors attribute this change to a clear and ambitious improvement plan, based on evidence of what was causing long-standing, inadequate practice in Torbay, together with a strong political and corporate commitment to the improvement agenda. 

Council leader Cllr Steve Darling said: “I am really pleased that Ofsted have recognised how far Torbay’s Children’s Services have come – it’s an achievement for the whole council. More importantly, the improvements are making a real difference to the lives of our children and young people.

“This joint political and corporate success has been made possible thanks to a dedicated workforce, the backing of all cabinet members and the whole council taking responsibility. We have shown our unwavering commitment to drive through the changes necessary.”

Nancy Meehan, the council’s Director Children’s Services, said: “This report pays testament to the passion and dedication of our workforce. It’s wonderful for our staff, partners, children, families and young people to be told that after many years of underperforming, Torbay Council is now considered ‘Good’ across all of the judgement areas. 

“Our journey in becoming a more child and family friendly Torbay is starting to bear fruit. We are committed to driving through more improvements and will strive to become an ‘Outstanding’ authority so we can deliver the best possible opportunities for children, families and young people in our care and across the Bay.”

One factor that supported the improvements was the establishment of the Learning Academy which has been successful in both recruiting and retaining staff. This means that social workers are working with the right number of children, so they build stronger, more meaningful and constructive relationships.

Inspectors recognised that some of our most vulnerable and exploited children are being helped to talk about their experiences and express their views. Ofsted also noted a radical transformation and development of our Early Help Services which help reduce harm and promote children’s welfare by providing support before problems escalate.

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