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Ofsted praises children’s services in Richmond upon Thames

21 March 2022

An Ofsted inspection has confirmed that children in Richmond upon Thames who need help, protection and care continue to receive a good service by Achieving for Children(AfC), Richmond Council’s children’s services. 

Inspectors assessed:

  • The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families
  • The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection
  • The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers
  • Overall effectiveness

In each category, Richmond upon Thames was rated ‘Good’ and received high praise, despite the exceptional challenges and increased pressure on services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, there is praise for the Council’s stable and ambitious senior leadership team, including Members, as well as its strong, skilled and resilient workforce of dedicated practitioners. The report also highlights strong relationships with partner agencies, which mean children and their families generally receive a good multi-agency response to their needs.

In terms of the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection, the report states that vulnerable children are given help quickly with active intervention beginning immediately, meaning children do not wait to get the help and support that they need. It also says that vulnerable adolescents are particularly well supported, through an impressive adolescent safeguarding service.

With regards to children in care and care leavers, social workers are commended for understanding the needs of children in care and providing them with diligent and caring support. Additionally, it highlights that children live in suitable matched, stable and secure homes.

The report outlines areas that require improvement, including the quality of partner agencies’ referrals where they have concerns about a child, the support given to foster carers who are adopting a child in their care, and continuing work to improve the sufficiency of care placements available for young people.

Read the full inspection report

Cllr Penny Frost, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools said:

“This is a splendidly positive report for the services offered to children and families in Richmond upon Thames. The team at AfC give so much to ensure a high standard of care and support to meet and exceed the needs of children, and I am glad that this has been recognised.

“I am particularly encouraged by the acknowledgement of AfC’s improvements since 2017, including strengthening preventative early help work and offering additional services to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.

“The Council will continue to support AfC to address the areas of improvement raised by Ofsted inspectors. We hope that by working on these elements, we will be able to deliver the highest quality in all of the services that we offer.”

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Up to: March 2022

Updated: 21 March 2022

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