Children's Services rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted

Tue, 15/10/2019

Children’s Services across Westminster City Council and Kensington and Chelsea have been given a clean sweep of outstanding ratings by Ofsted, the independent inspectorate.

The bi-borough service, its teams and leadership were highly praised and described as ‘excellent’ by the assessors who looked at all aspects of child social work. In particular:

• Westminster City Council provides excellent services for vulnerable children resulting in long-term positive changes for children and families.
• The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) was judged to deliver “exemplary practice” for children who cannot live with their families.

Both councils are the first local authorities in the country to sustain and improve upon their previous ‘outstanding’ rating.

Councillor Heather Acton, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Family Services, said:

“We are proud of our excellent services for children and young people across Westminster – and this Ofsted report gives the highest possible praise for our rigorous and innovative approach.  Credit must go to our amazing officers and also to our partners.
“The inspectors state that they saw the way we work with our partners and use resources effectively to ensure that we get the best results possible.

“I am really delighted to see as well that they were impressed by the way we are not afraid to try new ideas to improve services.”

Councillor David Lindsey, Kensington and Chelsea Lead Member for Families, Children and schools, said: 

“This report highlights perfectly the hard work that Children Services teams in Kensington and Chelsea put in every day. I’m thrilled that their dedication has been recognised and know that residents will feel pride knowing their borough’s Children Services are truly top notch. 

 “The past two years have been a period of great reflection and change at RBKC following the tragedy at Grenfell. That self-reflection has allowed us to continually ask ourselves how we can provide stronger services, ensuring every officer, manager and head of service delivers their absolute best to improve the lives of residents.”

Inspectors highlighted:

  • Children services across Westminster and RBKC are exceptional and have improved since the last full inspection in 2016
  • the bi-borough approach is bold, outward looking, and driving innovation in their children’s services
  • early intervention and a sensible approach means more children remain safely with their families. The councils’ approach is culturally sensitive, emotionally intelligent that really improves the life chances for children
  • when children do need to come into care, Ofsted confirms the service do this at the right time, sensitively and mirroring what birth families provide
  • staff want to work at the councils - they receive good support, manageable caseloads and are encouraged to be creative.

Sarah Newman, bi-borough Director of Children’s Services, said:

“These reports should provide a watershed moment for children’s social work practice in England.

“As a sector we have been talking for sometime about how we put an end to so many children coming into care.

“The way we work across the two local authorities is recognised in these reports as being imaginative and sensitive; enabling parents to think differently and providing safer and more confident care for their children.”

There are only 2 other councils with an outstanding grade for this service (North Yorkshire and Hampshire).

City of Westminster: Inspection of Children's Social Care services full report


Last updated: 15 October 2019