Inspectors have praised the quality of social work practice in a local authority where there is low staff turnover and a “negligible” reliance on agency staff.
Ofsted said Leeds’ children’s services had invested wisely in recruitment, retention, workforce development and career progression and this had led to social workers having “meaningful relationships” with children and young people.
The focused visit, the first under Ofsted’s new inspection regime introduced this year, looked at the quality of matching, placement and decision-making for children in care, as well as the services’ performance management oversight, supervision, quality assurance and continuing professional development.
‘Increasingly stable workforce’
Ofsted said the council, which was rated ‘good’ at its last inspection in 2015, understood its strengths and areas for development, took its responsibility for looked-after children very seriously and created an environment where social work was “flourishing”.
“Children, young people and their carers are benefiting from an increasingly stable workforce,” the report said.
“Social workers take full account of children’s hopes and fears, wishes and feelings. Every effort is made to try to help children to understand and make sense of their life histories. In most cases, the voice of the child in informing and shaping care planning is clear,” the report said.
Comprehensive assessments inform placement decisions about siblings, the report said, and therapeutic social work support provided by a specialist team had helped build resilience and prevent placement breakdown.
It said the council needed to improve personal education plans for children in care and make information presented in the service’s performance management reports easier to understand.