Leeds council children's services to learn fate as Ofsted ruling is due

Ofsted will deliver its latest verdict on Leeds’ children’s services next week.

By David Spereall , Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 4:45 am

The watchdog rated the city council department, which cares for vulnerable youngsters, ‘outstanding’ after its last full inspection in 2018.

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Leeds is one of very few local authorities across the country to currently have top marks for its children’s services.

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Leeds City Council will soon know how well its children's services have performed.

However, Ofsted’s latest findings will be published in the wake of a critical letter they wrote about the service last summer, which warned the council was sometimes slow to make decisions on the future of young people.

The letter, which followed what was effectively a two-day mini-inspection, also suggested that assessments by social workers were sometimes inconsistent.

On that occasion, Leeds’ opposition Tory councillors described the findings as “alarming” and called on the Labour-run administration to bring in a three-point improvement plan to get things back on track.

Labour, however, accused the Conservatives of “trying to create a story” out of what was an otherwise “positive” Ofsted report and insisted improvements were already being brought in.

They also said the regulator hadn’tt identified a single child in the council’s care who was at risk and that the issues raised weren’t “unexpected” in light of the pandemic.

Ofsted’s latest findings are expected to land on Monday, following a fortnight-long inspection between February 21 and March 4 this year.

The results will be publicly debated by councillors at a scrutiny meeting on Wednesday.