Ofsted praises family focused ethos within Children’s Services

Friday 13 November 2020

A letter published today by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, has praised Milton Keynes Council for a “strong ethos of supporting children early and keeping families together safely”.

The latest Ofsted inspection, which took place over three weeks during September this year, focused on the work of MK Council Children’s Services.  Inspectors combined video calls with site visits and spoke directly with social workers, managers and council leaders.

The Council’s ‘Golden Triangle’ model of social work practice, which places families at the centre of specialist support services, was recognised as effective with early, preventative help available for families in Milton Keynes.  Social workers were described as “committed and caring” whilst feeling well supported by managers.  This is the third consecutive positive Ofsted review of MK’s Children’s Services.

The report also highlights that alongside local partners, the council has delivered a “well-coordinated and effective response to the pandemic” where it has acted quickly with a strong focus on supporting the most vulnerable.

Ofsted stated that senior council leaders, in partnership with local schools, have been effective in promoting school attendance for vulnerable children during the period of COVID-19.  The relationship with schools was described as collaborative, supporting schools to manage a difficult and fluid situation.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “This is the third time Ofsted has inspected MK Children’s Services over recent years with no priority actions and there was praise for both leaders and our dedicated social care practitioners.  Ofsted also recognised our focus on keeping families together as we know that children who remain safely at home are likely to do better in the longer term.

“We intend to build on this good feedback, as there is always more that can be done and we continue to adapt our services to meet the needs of local families.  I am so proud of my colleagues who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that children and young people are supported.”

The Family Support Team (FST) was also praised for its flexibility and responsive support seven days per week, including evenings.  FSTs provide essential support to those children who are on Child in Need and Child Protection Plans and to those who are in care.

Milton Keynes Council is investing in its Family Support Teams by creating an additional team to cover the growing western area of Milton Keynes.

Cllr Nolan added: “I’d also like to recognise the work of our colleagues in Public Health, our schools and so many fantastic teachers, Thames Valley Police, Milton Keynes University Hospital and the incredible volunteer organisations across MK.  This collaborative network of professionals is essential for providing the right support for children and their families in Milton Keynes.”