Ofsted has rated West Berkshire Council’s children’s services as ‘good’, two years after they had been judged to be ‘inadequate’.
Inspectors noted that major improvements had been made at the council in their latest report, published today.
The council was praised for ensuring children in care enjoy stable relationships with social workers and foster carers, and for making good decisions regarding children who are referred to social services.
West Berkshire is the first authority to see its overall rating jump straight from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’.
However inspectors found that more still needs to be done with the safeguarding of children.
Lynne Doherty, the council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “I’m delighted that our hard work over the past two years has been recognised with the service now judged to be ‘good’.
“It is a clear demonstration of our commitment to support our young people and do all we can to keep them safe.
“There is still more we want to do to meet our council priority of being good at safeguarding, and this report gives us the platform to push on and continue striving for excellence.”
To improve further, the council has been issued with seven recommendations by Ofsted.
These include improving the response to children and young people who go missing from home or care, ensuring children’s changing needs are understood, and improving risk screenings to better understand the risk of sexual exploitation.
Rachael Wardell, the council’s director of children’s services, said: “We were quick to speed up our changes following the last inspection and eager for Ofsted to return and see the progress we’ve made.
“We’ve worked hard to reduce the turnover of staff to give more continuity to the children and families we work with, to be more effective at checking we’re meeting the standards we expect from ourselves, and to look outward and learn from other authorities.
“I’m thrilled for our staff and delighted for our children and our families to say that our children’s service is now good.”