In a letter published today (13 January), Government watchdog Ofsted has praised Milton Keynes City Council for improving local support for children in care, highlighting its ‘strong family support ethos’ and clear focus on keeping children safely at home wherever possible. Social workers were commended for understanding the individual needs of children.
The latest visit from Ofsted took place over two days during November last year and focused on children in care within Milton Keynes. Inspectors spoke directly with social workers, senior managers, and council leaders to understand how young people are protected, supported, and encouraged to succeed.
Last year, the City Council introduced a comprehensive improvement plan for its services supporting children in care, including new procedures and systems alongside key management appointments. Ofsted recognised that these changes are having a positive impact on children in care, although the regulator made some suggestions for further improvement including fewer changes in social workers to provide more consistency for children. Like other authorities, Milton Keynes City Council is struggling to recruit enough social workers despite offering competitive pay and benefits.
Ofsted also asked the City Council to encourage more children in care who go missing to take up the offer of an interview on their return home. To help, the City Council has already begun recruiting a new dedicated team who will be responsible for supporting children at risk of exploitation outside of the home.