Calderdale Council has recently received high praise from Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, for its exceptional efforts in safeguarding and supporting children. Inspectors from Ofsted conducted a thorough review of the Council’s arrangements for children in need and child protection planning during their visit in May 2023.

The report commends the Council for providing an effective service that meets the needs of children requiring additional support, resulting in improved protection for these vulnerable individuals. The Council’s Vision 2024, which aims to amplify unheard voices and enable everyone to reach their full potential, was reinforced by Ofsted’s acknowledgement of social workers dedicating time to understand children and ensuring their perspectives were central to social work assessments.

Safeguarding children in Calderdale is a collaborative effort involving various organisations, and inspectors were particularly impressed by the seamless information-sharing among professionals supporting families. This collaborative approach guarantees swift and efficient responses to address children’s needs and safeguarding concerns.

Several areas of Calderdale Council’s work received positive ratings from Ofsted, including their child-centred initiatives for disabled children, support for parents, management and supervision of children’s cases, and the investment made in addressing recruitment and retention challenges within the workforce. Ofsted’s report states, “All social workers who met with inspectors are very positive about working for Calderdale.”

However, Ofsted also identified an area for improvement, recommending that the Council ensure sustainable changes are implemented when a child’s support is nearing its conclusion. This measure would help prevent the need for repeated involvement of social workers in the child’s life.

Cllr Adam Wilkinson, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services at Calderdale Council, expressed immense pride in this achievement. He emphasised the Council’s commitment to reducing inequalities and highlighted the collaborative efforts of organisations and communities in ensuring the safety and support of children.

Acknowledging the well-documented national challenges in social work, particularly in recruitment and retention, Cllr Wilkinson commended Ofsted’s recognition of Calderdale Council’s dedication to providing commendable services. He extended his gratitude to the Council’s staff, partners, and families for their unwavering support in enabling children to have the best start in life.

Calderdale Council’s exceptional performance in keeping children safe and supported, as lauded by Ofsted, demonstrates the council’s unwavering commitment to the well-being and development of its young residents. With a continued focus on collaboration and the implementation of sustainable changes, Calderdale strives to set a benchmark for excellence in child protection and support across the region.