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Ofsted report that “Children at risk of extra-familial harm receive excellent support and services in Westminster”

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Westminster School

Published: 20 July 2022

On 15 and 16 June, Ofsted performed an inspection of Westminster Children’s Services looking at arrangements for the protection of vulnerable children from risk outside of their family.

During their visit, Ofsted inspectors spoke to children, young adults, carers, social care workers and managers and scrutinised the performance of the service including assessing individual cases.

Today, Ofsted published the report of their visit, and their headline finding was that:

Children at risk of extra-familial harm receive excellent support and services in Westminster.

They say of Westminster’s Children’s Services that:

Protecting children and supporting their families are at the heart of a whole-council, partnership and community-based approach.

Senior leaders and partners understand the interconnected complexities and barriers to tackling exploitation. They critically evaluate the impact partnership work is having on improving children’s lives. They strive to identify children who are at risk but invisible to services. They have fostered a culture of compassion and high support, which is mirrored by staff in their work with children.

A consistent quality of practice, a clearly articulated value base, effective professional development strategies and the stability of a diverse, skilled and caring workforce provide a solid foundation for the work to improve children’s lives and safeguard them from extra-familial harm.

The report’s main findings include commendations for staff who show huge tenacity and perseverance to build trusted relationships with hesitant children and to engage and support parents, event when they are resistant. They are praised for consistently recognising the significance of small steps as big wins and as meaningful progress for children. 

The report also highlights the service’s robust prevention agenda including effective early intervention and multi-agency support including working in close partnership with schools. It also praises the work of the Integrated Gangs and Exploitation Unit (IGXU) whose breadth and depth of work is described as “impressive, far-reaching and creative”.

Sarah Newman, Bi-Borough Executive Director of Children’s Services at Westminster City Council said:

Protecting children from abuse and neglect and creating an environment where they feel safe and healthy is paramount to Westminster’s Children’s Services.

I am proud of the recent Ofsted result and we will continue to work tirelessly to take care of our most vulnerable and achieve the best outcomes for children, young people and their families in Westminster.

Councillor Tim Roca, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Young People, Learning and Leisure at Westminster City Council said:

Westminster’s Children’s Services does an outstanding job for children, young people and their families with a real focus on being there for the most vulnerable in the borough.

I want to thank all staff from front-line practitioners to senior leadership for collectively achieving this excellent Ofsted result. As a council, we will continue working hard to keep our most vulnerable children and young people safe.

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

They inspect services that care for children and young people with the aim to improve lives by raising standards and they report directly to Parliament, parents, carers and commissioners.

Read the full Ofsted report.