CHILDREN’S services in Rotherham have been transformed — rising from inadequate to good in less than three years.
The department was judged to be failing by Ofsted in the wake of the 2014 Jay report into child sexual exploitation.
Inspectors returned in November for a four-week re-inspection and have praised the “significant improvement.”
Their report, published today, said: “The quality and impact of services for children are transformed.”
Here, senior council figures give their reaction to the new report.
Children’s services director Ian Thomas
“The last report talked about the importance of strong effective leadership and strong governance and to ensure that the standards against which we are measured be widely shared, understood and adhered to.
“We have made these changes and more right across children’s services, which is due to the grip and pace we have insisted upon, no matter how difficult this was at times.
“We will use the recommendations in the report to develop our new action plan as we are determined to build on this judgement and continue to improve.
“We owe this to the children here in Rotherham today. My thanks go out to all staff here at the council, not just in children’s services, who have helped us face our challenges. Thanks also to the support we have had from commissioners, elected members, peers and our partners.
“It is important that our children know that we will not be complacent. We will continue to ask ourselves ‘would this be good enough for my child?’”
Council leader Cllr Chris Read
“Over the last three years we have made improving our children’s services and better protecting our most vulnerable children our top priority.
“Today’s report from Ofsted is recognition of the enormous progress that has been made, and is a credit to all our staff and partner organisations that have made it happen.
“The validation of our work to transform our response to child sexual exploitation underscores how far we have come. "Going forward we will continue to learn, to improve, and to challenge ourselves to keep doing better for Rotherham's children.”
Children’s commissioner Patricia Bradwell
“The council and its partners have worked very hard to change outcomes for children, young people and families here in Rotherham and I am delighted that this hard work has been recognised in this way.
“Staff and their managers at Rotherham Council have been extremely committed to making the changes in order to provide good services to families.
“It’s been a privilege to work with councillors, officers and partners on this improvement journey.”
Cllr Gordon Watson, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services
“Three years ago we let the children of Rotherham down, and we are truly sorry for that.
“We pledged to use the Ofsted report to examine and improve culture and practice across the organisation and this new report hopefully shows we have done just that.
“My thanks go to staff here at the council and our partners who have helped us to achieve this rating. It would not have been possible without you.”
Chief executive Sharon Kemp
“This is great news for the children, young people and families in the borough.
“Our focus as a new senior leadership team at the council has been improving outcomes for children and young people.
“It is very pleasing to see that this commitment by so many staff across the council has made such a difference with our services significantly improved.
“It is important to recognise the many partners who have played a large role in our improvement and I thank them for their continued support and proactive engagement.
“We are committed to continuing to improve, and addressing the recommendations within the report will be our focus as we continue to support our children, young people and families.”
Look out for more on the Ofsted report in this Friday's Advertiser