Ofsted highlights challenges on improving children’s outcomes

    Most councils are making a good contribution to improving outcomes for children, but “narrowing the gap” between the majority of children and those who are vulnerable remains a challenge, according to an Ofsted report published today.

    The analysis of annual performance assessments and joint area reviews of 139 local authority children’s services graded 107 as outstanding or good, 28 adequate and just four as poor.

    But Ofsted’s study found long waiting times in mental health services for young people with acute and moderate levels of need, and for particular categories of young people, including unaccompanied asylum seekers.

    And it uncovered a “lack of leadership and expertise” in terms of safeguarding children in some areas and delays in investigating child protection concerns and completing initial and core assessments.

    Ofsted said thresholds governing access to social care services had been set too high and found “weak action” to reduce the number of looked-after children or find suitable local placements.

    It recommended that councils and their partners should develop systems to evaluate different interventions.

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