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Children’s services in West Norfolk told they still need to improve

County Hall Norwich
County Hall Norwich

Children’s services in West Norfolk have been told they still require improvements despite having already made positive moves for change.

Inspectors who visited Norfolk County Council say children’s services requires improvement in four main categories, but rated its adoption performance as outstanding.

In their report, inspectors said: “After a faltering start following the last inspection of children’s services in 2015, the last 12 months have seen a significant increase in the pace of change, with visible and effective interim senior leaders working purposefully to tackle critical weaknesses.

“This has allowed the current, permanent director of children’s services to immediately pick up the momentum where others left off.

“The support for children looked after, care leavers and children with a plan for adoption has improved and most receive timely, effective help.

“However, these services still require improvement to be good. The service provided to children with a plan for adoption is outstanding.”

Inspectors spent two-weeks visiting Norfolk County Council and sampled some 250 children’s cases.

They found social workers were visiting children regularly and young people who leave care were well supported by their social workers and personal advisers.

Executive director of children’s services, Sara Tough said: “Since joining Norfolk County Council it has been clear that staff here are ambitious and determined to do their best for Norfolk’s children and I would like to thank them for their continued hard work.

“Our department is well on the way to achieving the good judgement that we all want to see for Norfolk’s children and this report fairly reflects what we are doing well and where we still need to improve.

“Our adoption service is now outstanding, having been judged as requires improvement less than three years ago. That demonstrates that we have the capacity and ambition to deliver the very best services for our children.”

Chairman of the children’s services committee, Penny Carpenter said: “I said that improving children’s services was mission possible. We’ve proven that, thanks to the hard work of our staff, foster carers, councillors and everyone else involved. We’re not complacent , we’ve got to make further improvements, but getting to good is in sight.”

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