Ofsted inspectors have praised East Sussex for the experiences and progress of children in its care and care leavers, and the impact of leaders on social work practice. It is one of just six authorities out of 150 nationally to have achieved an overall 'outstanding' from the inspectors, as Cllr Sylvia Tidy the East Sussex lead member for children and families explains.
I am enormously proud of the front-line staff who work tirelessly, day-in, day-out, for this truly wonderful result. Their dedication has now been formally recognised as we have become one of only a handful of local authorities to have achieved the highest possible rating for our work with vulnerable families.
To be rated outstanding is testament to the commitment and dedication of all of our staff, and I would like to thank them all for the fantastic work they do, often in difficult and sometimes heart-breaking situations.
The report highlights the high standards set by our leaders which inspires talented social workers to stay in the county and allows effective social work to "flourish".
Inspectors were impressed with East Sussex’s “connected practice” model which places emphasis on the social workers creating “enduring and trusting relationships” with families and children.
For James, it was this approach that helped him turn his life around after his drug addiction lead to all four of his children being put into Care. “When social workers were saying ‘we are here to help you’, I didn’t listen,” said James. “But I wish I had known years ago how it could be. I would not be the father I am today if it hadn’t been for the support from social services. Things have never been better and I know I have social services to thank for that.” After spending nine months in a treatment centre, and receiving intensive individual support plus counselling and parenting work, James now lives with his two eldest children, while his partner has the two younger siblings.
Care leaver Seb has also benefited from the “connected practice” approach from first entering the care system at 14 to today, where he is supported as he starts a law degree. He said: “I’ve had ups and downs, I battled with depression and anxiety, but the one constant in my life has been social services and it has been a really positive experience. “Social workers in East Sussex do go above and beyond and the personal connection is so important. When I came into the care system, I was a bit of a mess and I have got to where I’ve got to because of their support.”
We are extremely fortunate in East Sussex to have a highly-skilled and dedicated team delivering this vital service to our most vulnerable families and I am delighted that their efforts have been recognised. In spite of the continuing financial pressures, our staff are still delivering an outstanding service. The support they offer to vulnerable families underlines the need for us to fight for more sustainable funding.
The full report can be viewed on the Ofsted website at https://reports.beta.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80467
Wealden MP Nus Ghani has welcomed the news that East Sussex County Council’s child services have been judged as ‘outstanding’.
The services were rated as ‘Good’ in 2014, and have recently been upgraded to ‘Outstanding’, as judged by Ofsted.
The ‘Connected Practice’ scheme at East Sussex County Council received special praise, which supports social workers creating lasting and meaningful relationships with children and families.
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, said: “This is excellent news that East Sussex’s child services has been judged as outstanding.
“Children services are a vital resource for a lot of people throughout Wealden, and the innovative and effective practices demonstrated by East Sussex County Council make a real difference to so many lives.
“It is a testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment of social workers and staff across the county. I’d also like to extend thanks to Cllr Sylvia Tidy, the lead member for children and families, and Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of the Council.”