1 February 2023

Children’s services make steady improvement

Improvements made by Blackpool’s children’s services have been acknowledged by Ofsted, following a recent inspection.

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Following a two-week inspection in December, inspectors have identified that Blackpool Council provides ‘good’ services for children in care and care leavers, with an overall classification of Requires Improvement.

Since the 2018 inspection deemed the service inadequate, the team has worked tirelessly to address the challenges identified. A robust improvement plan has been delivered, facilitated by a £4m investment by the Council resulting in the recruitment of more than 100 qualified social workers.

Inspectors credited strong, capable and determined leadership for driving the improvements which include:

  • Direct work with children is now a strength, children are well supported by social workers who understand their experiences.
  • Children at risk of exploitation, or who present as homeless, receive an excellent service.
  • Permanence for children in care is pursued and secured quickly so that children have a sense of security, stability and belonging.
  • Care leavers are now very well supported.
  • Core social work practice has been strengthened across each part of the service.
  • Social workers know their children well.
  • Staff and partnerships are re-energised and share a collective ambition to provide high-quality services.
  • Social workers are proud to work for Blackpool, feel safe, valued and listened to.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: 

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“The difference in this report to the one four years ago is remarkable. “We have made visible and meaningful changes to improve the wellbeing of our children, ensuring they can enjoy the best and happiest life chances. “Change does not happen overnight but we are absolutely heading in the right direction. We aspire to be classed as “Good” overall and I truly believe that is possible with workforce we have. Recruiting and retaining good staff is a huge challenge and one we have relentlessly focused on. “Throughout this report, staff are praised for the relationships they have built with children and young people. They should be very proud of the positive difference they are making to lives of our most vulnerable residents. “There is more work to be done but we are more than equipped and ready for the challenge.”
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Victoria Gent, Director of Children’s Services, said: 

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“I am delighted that the inspectors have recognised all of the improvements that have been made over the last four years.“Credit must go to all of the dedicated, committed and passionate staff within children’s services who are working day in, day out to provide better outcomes for our young residents and their families. It is clear to see that their hard work is paying off. “The inspectors have highlighted areas for further improvements. This issues were already known to us and we already have a plan in place to tackle them.”
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The full report can be read here - 50206631 (