Update on Fostering Service InspectionChildren and families
23 March 2023
The Leaders of North and West Northamptonshire Councils met urgently last night with senior council officers and the Children’s Trust to discuss the Ofsted fostering inspection report issued earlier this week.
Attended by councils’ Leaders, Cabinet Members, Chief Executives, Directors and senior staff, and also by the Children’s Trust’s Chair, Chief Executive, and senior team, the constructive but challenging meeting discussed its huge concern for the findings of the report, and an absolute commitment to our children and Foster Carers to improve this service.
Both Leaders raised detailed issues within the report and sought assurances that action was being taken to address the critical findings. The meeting examined the existing action plans for the Fostering Service, which have already been reviewed and updated since the very recent Ofsted report. The actions have been urgently upgraded so that they are quickly implemented and will be robustly monitored and overseen.
The Trust will be engaging with Ofsted to validate the progress made so far, prior to Ofsted revisiting the service in April.
The Councils have been reassured by the Trust that immediate action has been taken to ensure all children in its care are safe. Following this urgent meeting the Councils feel more assured that the commitment of senior leaders in the Trust is to improve the service and ensure children’s needs are met and foster carers are fully supported.
We’ve had a frank and tough discussion with the Children’s Trust, because it’s essential that we urgently work together to improve the standard of the Fostering Service.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council
I’m grateful to the Trust for quickly fielding their top team to show their commitment to discussing and acting on this most important report, and for showing us the actions already underway since the report was published to put this service right.
We can’t overstate the importance that we’re attaching to addressing this crucial report, and the need to address the shortcomings identified.Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council
Whilst Ofsted has recently acknowledged overall improvement across the services provided by the Children’s Trust, fostering is the weak point that must urgently be improved. Both our councils are committed to working with the Trust and the Department for Education to help improve the situation, and to take all necessary action at pace.
We had a constructive meeting with colleagues in West and North Northants Council to discuss the outcome of the recent inspection of our Independent Fostering Agency. We mustn’t lose sight of the improvements that Ofsted have already recognised in our full inspection which shows that we are on the right trajectory.Julian Wooster, Chair of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust
Our focus now is to work collaboratively to ensure that our fostering service follows the same path and we welcome the commitment from both council’s as well as the Department for Education to support and enable these improvements to be made.