An ‘inadequate’ local authority is making “significant progress” in improving support for care leavers, Ofsted has found.
A monitoring report on Sunderland council found workers at all levels within the care leavers service felt more confident and supported by senior managers and there was a “more open and receptive culture of leadership”.
“New policies, procedures, documents and accompanying training are supporting workers to improve the quality of practice and recording,” the report said.
Ofsted rated Sunderland’s overall children’s services ‘inadequate’ last year. The council has since announced it will move services into a children’s trust with the help of commissioner Nick Whitfield, chief executive of Achieving for Children, a Community Interest Company that runs children’s services in Kingston and Richmond.
Ofsted’s monitoring visit, which only looked at services for care leavers, found young people felt safe and well supported where they lived, and the number of care leavers with a pathway plan had increased.
Care leavers were increasingly involved in developing pathway plans, and the percentage of care leavers in touch with the service had increased from 30% to 82% in the past year, the report found.
“Senior managers within children’s services have responded determinedly to the areas of improvement identified in respect of the experiences and progress of care leavers.”
However, inspectors found that while supervision of social work and personal advisers was completed regularly, the recording was not reflective and didn’t focus on the quality of practice. The report also said the quality of pathway plans was “not consistently good”.
Chronologies, assessments of need, analyses of findings and the details in the plans were all areas in which quality was not consistent, Ofsted said.