'Hard working' staff praised as improvements to Wakefield's children's services continue

"Significant progress" has been made in addressing dozens of faults within Wakefield's children's services, a report has concluded.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 10:15 am

The service was placed in special measures after Ofsted rated it inadequate in 2018 as Wakefield Council was told vulnerable children were being placed at risk.

But Ofsted has praised the department for the vast improvements that have been made since and could upgrade the inadequate rating by the end of 2021.

Now, a report going before senior councillors has said that across 164 points of action that needed to be taken, big progress has been made across "almost all" of them.

County Hall in Wakefield

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the council's portfolio holder for children and young people Councillor Margaret Isherwood said: "I think it's important to note that significant progress has been made against the improvement plan since 2018 and the hard work of everybody involved.

"Most of the actions needed to be taken have been dealt with and actually come to fruition."

Last month, the council's corporate director for children and young people, Beate Wagner, said that the number of agency staff within children's services had fallen significantly since the 2018 inspection.

The authority was told it was overly reliant on agency staff by Ofsted three years ago, as the workforce struggled with high caseloads.

Councillor Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet member for children and young people

Face-to-face visits to some children in the care of the council have also continued throughout the pandemic to ensure they are kept safe.

Council leader Denise Jeffery told Coun Isherwood: "This is a really important report.

"The improvement plan matters so much for our reputation and for the children we look after.

"I think you, Beate and the whole team are to be congratulated on the work you've done on this."

Local Democracy Reporting Service