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New Ofsted rating for children’s services in North Northamptonshire as improvements highlighted

Children and families

25 November 2022

Significant improvements continue to be made to children’s services in North Northamptonshire according to a report published by Ofsted today.

In a letter to North Northamptonshire Council, Ofsted highlighted the good work of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT) and rated children’s services as ‘Requires Improvement to be Good’ lifting it out of the ‘Inadequate’ category it had been rated since 2019.

After a number of monitoring visits, October this year saw the first full inspection of children’s services by Ofsted since the unitary authorities came into being in April 2021.

In the report, Ofsted noted that inspectors recognised: ‘Children in need of help and protection in North Northamptonshire receive much better support than they did at the time of the inspection in 2019.’

It continued: ‘Early help support has been strengthened, children at risk of harm are identified and timely protective action is taken.’

Ofsted acknowledged that help was now at hand for children and families who were just beginning to have problems, making sure that these small problems did not grow.

Inspectors also highlighted that when children were at risk of very serious harm, social workers acted quickly to make sure they were as safe as possible and social workers completed assessments so that they could plan the best ways to help children and families.

Social workers were also praised for finding the right families for most children who cannot live with their own families, and that they are well cared for.

Senior leaders who have worked hard to improve services for children and families since the previous inspection of Northamptonshire in 2019 were also commended.

However, although services have got much better, Ofsted recognised that there was still more to do.

I’m delighted that children’s services continue to be on an upwards trajectory and that Ofsted have recognised the substantial improvements that have been made by lifting children’s services out of the inadequate category.

Improving life chances for every child is a key priority for us and we’re all absolutely committed to making sure that we continue on this journey. Progress has been made in some challenging areas and I’m confident that we have the right leaders and staff in place to continue to progress.
Cllr Scott Edwards, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for children, families, education and skills
Our children are our future and it’s essential that children’s services are in the best shape possible to deliver for the most vulnerable in our area.

I’m delighted that improvements continue to be made and we now need to work even harder to drive forward further positive change.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council
I’m delighted that Ofsted have recognised the significant improvements that have been made to children’s services in Northamptonshire. Northamptonshire Children’s Trust has been on a substantial journey of improvement and that doesn’t stop here. We will continue to strive to deliver the best possible services for children, young people and families in the county, keeping them at the heart of all we do.  
I was pleased that the inspectors noted the change in culture to one of high support and kindness and also remarked on the strong stable leadership team that we have in place to support the workforce. We know that social work is a very challenging role, but with the right culture and leadership in place it can be a really rewarding role which is why I would encourage the best and brightest social workers to come and join us.
Julian Wooster, Chair of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT)

The predecessor authority, Northamptonshire County Council delegated its children’s social care statutory functions and transferred the provision of children’s social care services to Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT) on 1 November 2020. 

The trust now delivers children’s social care and targeted early help services on behalf of North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire councils.

The letter to North Northamptonshire Council is now available to view in full on the Ofsted website.