Minister praises significant improvements in Devon’s children’s services

Posted on: 8 March 2016

A Government Minister has praised the good progress in children’s services in Devon and lifted his formal improvement notice.

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson says the services provided to children, young people and their families in Devon have improved significantly.

And, he says, the county council can now be an example to other struggling authorities of how to bring about improvement.

Children’s social care in Devon was judged to be inadequate two and a half years ago. Last year inspectors recognised there had been considerable progress but ruled that services still required improvement.

Now, in a letter to county council leader John Hart and the Cabinet Member for children’s services, James McInnes, the Minister says: “It is clear Devon has made good progress in addressing the issues raised in Ofsted’s inspection report published in May 2015.

“Overall I am reassured that strong leadership; a shared vision for children’s services; success in workforce recruitment; improved audit and quality assurance systems and the more effective use of data has led to an organisation which better understands its strengths and areas for development.

“It is clear that you are in a strong position to build on the improvements you have made to date.

“I want to congratulate you and acknowledge the hard work of leadership, staff and partner organisations in bringing about this change.

“On the basis of these findings I am lifting the improvement notice and ending the formal intervention arrangements in Devon.”

Mr Timpson says that the county still needs to embed and sustain its improvements across the service and ensure consistency across the county.

“I welcome the continued strong commitment throughout all levels of the council to maintain pace and complete the journey to ensure that you meet your aim of “good and beyond”, he says.

“I very much appreciate the efforts made by you, your political colleagues and senior officers across the council throughout the improvement process.

“I would encourage you and your officers to work with neighbouring authorities – especially those who find themselves facing similar challenges – in order to share the lessons you have learned, and the good practice you have developed on your ‘improvement journey’.

Today, Mr McInnes welcomed the Minister’s decision to end his formal intervention in Devon and praised council staff.

Cllr James McInnes“This is excellent news and a real tribute to our workforce and management,” he said.

“However, there are no grounds for complacency. As Mr Timpson recognises, this authority is determined to be judged as good or better the next time we are inspected.

“The process of improvement is never-ending. I am very pleased with the progress we have made so far but our aim must always be to do the absolute best we can for the children and families in Devon who we are here to help.”

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