Inspection success for frontline services

Council staff are proud of the inspection result
Council staff are proud of the inspection result

Watchdogs have awarded Wigan Council’s children’s services a “Good” rating following an inspection earlier this year.

Ofsted praised “a strong culture of continuous improvement” and judged the adoption services to be “outstanding”.

However, in the children who need help and protection category, the service was said to “require improvement.”

Inspectors said in regard to children who return home after being missing “the services they receive are variable.” Although children at risk of sexual exploitation “are swiftly responded to by a range of agencies to reduce risk and secure their safety.”

Out of 123 councils in the country to have undergone this inspection process, 70 per cent have been judged inadequate or requiring improvement. And Wigan is only one of four across the North West to receive a Good rating.

James Winterbottom, director for children’s services, said: “Our children’s services have been on a huge journey in the past 18 months with many of our services transformed by reassessing how we approach what we do through The Deal. The inspectors recognised the positive impact programmes like Start Well, our innovation projects and the quality of our social work practice are having on the way we work in the community and the support we provide to children, young people and their families.

“Despite this judgement of Good by Ofsted, we are very ambitious about continuing to improve the quality and effectiveness of our services in this most critical of areas. It is pleasing that Ofsted recognised that we were aware of and in the process of improving the majority of areas they identified for improvement, indeed in many instances they noted the work we are already doing and our track record of successfully implementing large scale change.

“The hard work of staff both in Wigan Council and across our partners has shone through in this Ofsted report and we are really pleased that inspectors recognised the good services being offered for children and young people in the borough and the priority we give to keeping children safe. In particular our adoption services showed once again why Wigan has been chosen to lead the new regional adoption agency thanks to its outstanding work.”