Westminster City Council has been awarded an ‘Outstanding rating’ from Ofsted, the first in the country to do so under the current Ofsted system following an inspection in early 2016.
The report notes that Children’s Services in Westminster is made up of “well-trained and impressive social workers” who are “patient, tenacious and respectful” and make a “vast difference” in keeping children safe from harm. Moreover, the council is a “highly ambitious corporate parent” and looked after children in Westminster see “exceptionally good outcomes”.
Councillor Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:
“I am delighted to see the staff who work so tirelessly to protect Westminster’s children being recognised for their care, compassion and dedication.
“Westminster City Council has always strived for excellence and nowhere is this more important than in the work we do to keep the city’s most vulnerable young people safe. I’m also particularly proud to see the work we do to support children who are unable to live with their families resulting in such positive outcomes.”
The report also highlights that significant and sustained improvements have been made since the last inspection in October 2011, when services were judged to be good. The local authorities leaders and managers demonstrating ‘a strong track record of effective, high-quality service delivery…linked ‘regularly and directly to the tri-borough Executive Director of Children’s Services, who manages the complex arrangement exceptionally well, within a mature culture of appropriate challenge.’
Andrew Christie, Executive Director of Children’s Services commented:
“I am immensely proud of today’s Ofsted rating which is a direct result of the hard work that all our staff put in, often in extremely difficult circumstances.
“There is no room for complacency, however, and we will continue to look at areas where we can improve so that services for children and families in Westminster remain best in class.”
The council currently looks after 179 children and Ofsted found that they had “enduring relationships with committed, skilled and determined social workers”, resulting in children and young people doing well in education and feeling stable and safe. Adoption services in particular were found to be outstanding.
The report further highlighted the exemplary work Children’s Services carries out to protect those at risk of child sexual exploitation, as well as the “excellent initiatives” to protect children and young people from radicalisation, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and honour-based violence. The council’s FGM pilot that brings together specialist social workers and midwives to identify pregnant women who have undergone FGM and protect their daughters from being cut was recently hailed as a “ground-breaking initiative” by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Westminster was rated outstanding for: Looked after children, adoption, and leadership and governance; leading to an overall rating of outstanding.
Read the full report.