Council’s children's services rated inadequate by Ofsted

The Council’s services for children who need help and protection have been rated as ‘inadequate’ following an inspection carried out by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) which took place from 11 to 13 July 2023. The inspection report is now available on the Ofsted website.

Grades are given on a scale of Outstanding > Good > Requires improvement > Inadequate. A breakdown of the grades given to the Council for this inspection can be seen in the table below.

Judgement Grade
The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families Inadequate
The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection Inadequate
The experiences and progress of children in care Requires improvement
The experiences and progress of care leavers Requires improvement
Overall effectiveness Inadequate

The Council is preparing an action plan to detail the improvements that will be made to address Ofsted’s findings. The following actions/interventions have already taken place to improve the service:

  • The Council has received funding from the Department for Education to enable Essex County Council to provide support and challenge for the service. Essex County Council is rated as outstanding in all of Ofsted’s judgement areas so they are an excellent partner to learn from.
  • We have licensed new case management software, to make it easier for staff to keep accurate, traceable records. The aim is to have the system in place for use within the next 12 months.

The Council is in the process of recruiting a new Director of Children’s Services following the departure of the previous Director in July 2023. Interviews are scheduled for September. In the meantime, Justine Davies has been appointed as the interim Director of Children’s Services.

Chairman of Council, Councillor Robert Francis, said: “I want to offer my apologies on behalf of the Council that the service has been graded as inadequate. We fully accept Ofsted’s findings and recognise that not enough has been done to address the areas identified for improvement during the previous inspection in 2019. These services have a substantial impact on the lives of Scilly’s children and their families, and we are determined to make improvements as a matter of urgency. The service has been working with Essex County Council, an organisation rated as outstanding, in order to ensure we are striving for the best possible provision going forward.”

Lead Member for Children, Councillor Joel Williams, said: “the actions we take in response to this inspection report must lead to meaningful and long-term change, so we do not find ourselves in this position again. As Lead Member, I have a duty to monitor progress made in relation to the action plan and to be on hand to answer questions about the service at formal scrutiny meetings. I will ensure that the service benefits from a greater level of scrutiny and support as we make the necessary improvements and seek to restore trust in these services.”

What happens next?

Ofsted provides a timetable setting out what local authorities should expect following an inadequate judgement.

Activity When the activity happens
Action planning visit between Ofsted and the local authority 30 working days after Ofsted publishes the inspection report
Local authority shares action plan 70 working days after Ofsted publishes the inspection report
First monitoring visit 6 months after Ofsted publishes the inspection report
Second and subsequent monitoring visits Timetable to be agreed between Ofsted and the local authority. Ofsted will confirm the calendar month of each visit in advance.

Raising a concern or seeking support

We understand that the community will be disappointed to read this report, but it remains vital that everyone continues to contact children’s services to seek support or if they are concerned about a child. If you do have concerns, even if you're unsure, report it to us so that we can check. You can report your concerns anonymously if you want.

Call: 0300 1234 105 (option 5)

If somebody is in immediate danger, dial 999 and ask for the police.

Publishing date: 
Friday, 25 August, 2023